A 13-year-old has filed a police complaint after he says he was offered a ride by an unkempt elderly man driving a ute at Fergusson Park last week.

The boy's complaint follows seven other reports of similar incidents involving a suspicious man or men approaching schoolchildren in Tauranga since July 3.

The other incidents were in Ōtūmoetai, Greerton, Pillans Point, Arataki, and Te Puna.

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The boy's father, who asked not to be named, said an elderly man driving a light-coloured ute with no canopy approached his son at the park about 2.45pm last Friday, August 31.

The boy, who attends Otumoetai Intermediate, was at the park helping referee a sports programme.

"After the other students left, my son was sitting on a bollard near the Tilby Drive main entrance waiting for my wife to pick him up. She was only about a minute away."

The suspect, believed to be in his 60s or 70s, parked up beside his son and asked him if he wanted a ride twice, and when the offers were refused, the man drove off.

The father said his son described the alleged offender as being slightly unkempt, wearing a cap and driving spectacles, and spoke with an American or Canadian accent.

"As a concerned parent, this is really troubling as there is far too much of this going on and the number of these types of incidents being reported is definitely mounting."

The father said he was concerned there could be an abduction and he urged other people to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to police.

Otumoetai Intermediate principal Henk Popping said the school's Facebook posts about these incidents had been "shared widely", and viewed by about 44,000 people.


Students had been told about the latest incident at a school assembly, he said.

"It's definitely concerning. But we have done our best to ensure our students have the skills to respond should they be approached by anyone in suspicious circumstances."

The Bay of Plenty Times also sought comment from the police officer in charge of investigating these incidents but he was not available before deadline.

Detective Sergeant Alan Kingsbury earlier said: "We actively encourage people to tell children and young adults to report anything that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable, to a trusted adult, teacher or the police."