POLICE are investigating a report that an 11-year-old girl was followed by three men along Mayflower Road in Chafford Hundred.
The girl had left the Harris Academy in Mayflower Road at around 3.30pm on Monday, November 10. She was approached by two men who had got out of a white van with darkened windows, which was driven by a third man.
They followed her and she ran off before they caught up with her again in the van but was she able to get away and return home safely.
Detective Inspector Alan Pitcher said: "We have been conducting house to house enquiries in the area but so far we have not been able to get any further information on this van or the men involved. If anyone was in the area at the time and saw any suspicious behaviour then I would ask them to contact me or DC Grant Welbourne at Grays CID on 101.
"The girl was not harmed during this incident but this was obviously distressing for her and while we currently have no known motive for the actions of these men it is a disturbing incident which we want to get to the bottom of as soon as possible.
"We have been conducting extra uniform patrols in the area alongside our investigation to provide reassurance and if anyone has any information they can also speak to these officers.
"I would also urge people to remain vigilant and make sure their children do not speak to strangers and that they understand the importance of telling a responsible person immediately if they are approached. It is then vital to call Essex Police on 101 as soon as possible or, if the offender is believed to be close by, then use 999.”
He added that people can also contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.