Tauranga Police are warning people to be vigilant following an incident where a young boy was approached by an unknown adult man.
Community Constable Paul Wrigley says the incident happened earlier this week when a 12-year-old was walking on the saltmarsh pathway near Ngatai Road.
In a statement which was released earlier this week, the police report showed the incident involved a young girl however Paul says new information has revealed the young person involved was in fact male.
“An older male asked the boy to help him find something he lost in the bushes. This is a suspicious request coming from a stranger to another person – let alone to a young person.”
Paul says the student walked away and told an adult about the interaction which he says is “good work by that student”.
The man has been described as being on the thinner side of a medium build, European, grey-haired and aged around mid-40s.
“The saltmarsh walkway is frequented by many people throughout the day and generally seems to be a safe place to ride or walk; plenty of students use it to walk between Matua and Otumoetai College.”
He says in light of the recent complaint however, it’s important to remind members of public on some tips to keep safe when walking in areas with poor visibility, such as parks and estuary walkways.
“Walking with a dog or another person is great,” says Paul. “If you are by yourself, choose busy times of the day like lunchtime, mornings or immediately after school.
“Avoid dusk or, when lighting is poor, consider changing your route to stay on residential streets.”
He says it’s also important to stay aware of what’s happening around you.
“By all means enjoy listening to music but, when in alley ways or such areas, consider pausing the music and staying alert to people walking up behind you until you are in a more public place.
“At the end of the day these are our spaces and Tauranga has excellent walking tracks. The more of us that get out and use them, the safer it will be.”
Paul says police are investigating the incident.
Anyone with more information that may help with the investigation is urged to contact Tauranga community constable Paul Wrigley on 07 5774307.
Alternatively, information can be left anonymously via the Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 line.