Police are investigating a terrifying ordeal where a young Whangārei schoolgirl was allegedly grabbed by a man attempting to pull her into his car on Wednesday.
The 11-year-old was walking home along Third Avenue, near Mander Park in Whangārei, before 3pm when a car veered from the other side of the road and pulled up alongside her.
The man in the vehicle reportedly asked her if she wanted a ride and reached out to grab her when the girl declined.
She was able to escape his grip and fled to the safety of her home where her mother reported the incident to police shortly before 4pm.
Detective Sergeant Josh Lautogo, of the Whangārei Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), said police had spoken with the girl and ensured Victim Support was available.
He said officers were making further enquiries into the incident.
Whangārei Intermediate School issued an email to parents on Wednesday night describing the ordeal and advising them to ensure their children never walk home alone.
"Please remind your child to be safe by walking home with a friend. Avoid being alone."
The information also shared on the Whangārei Intermediate Facebook page.
In their email they said the mother had now arranged for a buddy to walk with her daughter to and from school.
They described the man as possibly in his 50s and driving a "beaten-up older red car".
The Advocate had contacted the school's principal Hayley Read for comment but was yet to hear back by edition time.
Police have asked anyone with information to contact them on 105 and quote the file number 210217/6157.
The Whangārei community was placed on high alert in October last year when a high school student was approached by a stranger who offered her alcohol and a ride back to the woman's place.
The student reported the after-school encounter at the Town Basin on October 16 to the Whangārei Police Station.
Northland district youth and community manager Senior Sergeant Patrick Davis said the intent behind strangers approaching young people was a major concern.
He advised anyone who is approached to immediately report the incident to police on 111.
"Give as much detail as possible and if people have a phone, try and take a photo - if they can do so safely," Davis said.