Police are investigating an assault after a student was approached and grabbed on their way to school this morning.

A middle-aged European man grabbed the teenaged girl from behind near the intersection of Lanark Crescent and Glamorgan Avenue in Tamatea at about 8:30am.

Detective Michael Signal said the man on a mountain bike had cycled past her in the opposite direction along Lanark Crescent before turning around and coming up behind her.

"He grabbed her by her hair with some force, resulting in scratches to her forehead. The victim kicked out at the offender, causing him to fall from his bike, and fled."


Mr Signal said the man was last seen heading down Glamorgan Avenue on his mountain bike, without a helmet.

He was described as a skinny European man, aged in his 40s or 50s, around 6ft tall with blonde or sandy brown hair.

He was wearing a green jersey, possibly a V-neck, smelt of alcohol and had a croaky voice with distinctive wide open eyes.

The victim was yet to be formally interviewed by police but both her and her family had been shaken by the incident and were being given the appropriate support.


Tamatea High School principal Robin Fabish told Hawke's Bay Today that he was really pleased by the prompt response of police who had been very supportive.

There will be an increased police presence in the area with Tamatea Intermediate School also on Freyberg Avenue.

"I am happy that we have followed our processes, communication has been strong and our community feel confident because of that."

"We have encouraged our students to use their stranger danger practices and report anything unusual over the next few days while Police continue their investigations," Mr Fabish said.

Directly after the incident Mr Fabish posted a statement on the school's website which said a student was accosted on the way to school this morning.

"The student is safe and her parents have been in to the school. The police are involved and have extra patrol cars in the area. We will advise further early this afternoon," he said.

A text had also been sent to the parents of students letting them know everyone was safe.

Tamatea Intermediate School in a post on their Facebook page said there thoughts were with Tamatea High School.

They were also discussing actions and suggestions with police.

"Extra staff will be on duty after school today and we will ensure a staff presence in the community as students leave at 3pm today," the school said.

Residents who lived near the school were unaware of the incident but said it certainly gave them a shake up.

One woman said incidents like this were pretty scary, especially when it happens on the front door step.

"I just hope they get the person responsible it is not a nice thing to wake up to on a Monday morning," she said.

Anyone with any information in relation to this incident is asked to contact their local police station or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.