Members of the public who may have witnessed an attempted abduction of an 8-year-old girl in Ashburton are being urged to contact police.

The girl was taken from the Allenton area between 4pm and 4.15pm yesterday. She managed to break free from her abductor and find her way home, where she told her mother what happened.

While a number of people had already come forward with information, police believe they are yet to hear from several people who may have witnessed the abduction.

"In particular we are interested in locating and speaking to a woman who was walking two black and white dogs, and who spoke to the young girl on Harrison St between Allison and Smitheram streets,'' Detective Leigh Jenkins said.


"We believe that around the time the man was with the young girl there would have been a number of people in the area, either returning home from school or in the shopping area.We are appealing for these people to make contact with police as soon as possible,'' he said.

While Mr Jenkins believed yesterday's abduction was an isolated incident, he warned locals to remain vigilant about "people and vehicles that may be acting suspiciously''.

"If a vehicle is seen, it's helpful if the registration number is obtained. With school returning it is also timely to remind the community to be aware of children keeping themselves safe and using positive behaviour, encouraging them to say `no' and to stay away from strange vehicles. It's also important to encourage children to be able to talk to their caregivers about any concerns they may have.''

The 8-year-old involved in yesterday's abduction was recovering well, he said.

"She handled herself well in a situation that could have resulted in a more serious outcome.''

Anyone with information should contact Ashburton police on (03) 3078400.

Information can also be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.