A SCHOOL has issued a warning to parents on the dangers of pupils approaching strangers.

Harwich and Dovercourt High School sent a message to parents following reports of a driver of a black van attempting to engage and call over pupils in Low Road, on Monday afternoon.

The email said: “Please remind your sons and daughters of the dangers of approaching strangers and of the importance of not being on their own in isolated areas of town - particularly as it is getting darker earlier.”

The police have been informed, it added.

Headteacher Kate Finch said: “We take safeguarding of our students very seriously and as such when we are given some information, we pass it on to parents as quickly as possible.

“An increased police presence is desired by the whole community.”

A parent, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s getting ridiculous - this is on the same road as the primary school my younger daughter goes to.

“I just feelwe need a bigger police presence to deter these criminals and keep our children safe.

“We should be able to give our children the independence to walk home from secondary school without the fear of them being kidnapped or worse.”

She said this happened on the last day of term - when two 12-year-old boys were approached by a man on October 19 - and now it’s happened on the children’s first day back.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident outside the high school and we are continuing to investigate.”