Rumours of Kidnap Gangs Targeting Local Schools Dismissed

Police issue reassurance following post on Next Door

Patrols have been stepped up around local schools. Picture: HF Council

October 16, 2023

Reassurances has been given by police in Hammersmith & Fulham after posts appeared on social media claiming that kidnap gangs were operating near local schools.

A message on Next Door entitled "Kidnappers are out in full force" made claims about abductions after a warning was issued to parents at local schools.

Reports of organised gangs operating in the area were dismissed by Police Sergeant Farrugia of the Hammersmith & Fulham Safer Schools team who said, “At this stage there is no evidence to suggest that attempted kidnappings/abductions have occurred. Nonetheless, please be advised this information was circulated in partnership with the Local Authority to all schools of Hammersmith & Fulham for awareness. Please also be reassured that local police are aware, patrolling where appropriate and communicating with their schools. Intelligence reports have also been created for wider awareness within the organisation, and we are keeping a close eye for any further reports of incidents. “

There were two incidents recently of which the Hammersmith & Fulham Safer Neighbourhoods Teams and Safer Schools Officers are aware.

At a school in Fulham on 5 October a man entered the school playground on a white electric bicycle. He left after being questioned by a member of staff. He is described as a black male, around 5 foot 9 or 10, wearing navy blue clothing and a black baseball cap. He also wore dark glasses and had some facial hair.

The following day at a school in central Hammersmith at around 7.15am a man on a white and black bike, with a face covering, approached two young children (Reception/KS1) as they were entering the school site. He offered them both a wrapped chocolate wafer sweet and said 'Eat this'. The man fled on his bike after a member of staff challenged his behaviour. His face was covered but he was wearing a yellow jacket, white shoes and carried an umbrella on a pole.

The police say that if you do see anything suspicious then you not post about it on social media but report it through either by calling 101, online on the Met’s web site, or 999 if an emergency.

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