The shaken mother of an 11-year girl who was almost snatched off the street by a stranger has hailed the hero shopper who saved her daughter and said: ‘I cannot thank her enough.’
The mother – whom MailOnline is not naming to protect the identity of the victim – also warned other parents to be vigilant after her daughter was pounced on as she left a newsagent on a busy high street in South East London in broad daylight.
Two men had followed the youngster into the store, but one left and waited for her outside a neighbouring charity shop. When she emerged, he approached her and tried to convince her to go with him until a quick-thinking shopper intervened.
The girl’s mum wrote online: ‘Please make sure your kids are safe. Thank God for the lovely lady who saved my daughter from being taken. I cannot thank her enough.’
The girl lives with her two other siblings in a semi-detached house close to Shriji News in West Wickham, near Bromley.
Detectives investigating a suspected attempted abduction have released images of two men they want to identify and speak with – one of the men pictured
One of the men police would like to speak to as they investigate a suspected attempted abduction
But less than 30 seconds later she steps out of the shop to intervene in what the Met Police suspect was an attempted abduction, asking the girl if she needed help
The man appears to remonstrate with the woman as she stands in the doorway of the shop, out of sight of the camera, and beckons the child inside
He then walks off as the young girl follows the woman inside
The Good Samaritan stepped in when she feared the girl was about to be snatched off the street after hearing two men ask the 11-year-old if she was alone.
In exclusive footage obtained by MailOnline, a man is seen approaching the girl on the street as she stands alone outside a shop. He starts talking to the child while appearing to try and lead her away.
Just as the girl seems to be following the man, a woman in a green dress rushes out of a shop and puts a hand on her shoulder while seemingly urging her not to leave with him. The three continue talking before the man eventually gives a thumbs up and walks off.
A shopkeeper said the man and a male companion had been keeping a close eye on the girl, ‘and seeing if anyone was with her’. He told MailOnline the men had moments earlier ‘asked in Hindi about mobile phone top-up vouchers.’
The incident happened before the start of the summer holidays on a Saturday morning in June, but the Met Police have only now put out a CCTV appeal.
In the video, the woman can be seen walking past the man and the girl only moments earlier with a black shopping bag over her shoulder.
She walks into a Mind charity store next to the newsagent but looks over at the girl just before she enters.
The shopper emerges back into the street 25 seconds later and tells the man to go away before beckoning the girl to come into the charity shop with her where she called police.
The suspected would-be abductor, who is understood to have been with another man nearby, walked off.
She had apparently heard him ask the girl if she was alone and quickly intervened.
Police say the encounter happened on West Wickham High Street near Bromley, Southeast London at 11.45am on June 24.
Two men are now being hunted by police and their images were circulated yesterday.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police revealed that images of the men were caught on CCTV following the girl into Shriji News.
The owner of the shop, Maunil Patel, 35, told MailOnline: ‘I saw the girl come in first, I’ve seen her before as she lives nearby, and two men I’ve not seen came in soon afterwards.
The Good Samaritan was seen in the footage walking past Shriji News into a Mind charity shop next door (above) – before returning to the newsagents after suspecting something was wrong
‘The girl was looking around the shop for a few minutes and the men were keeping a close eye on her, watching what she was doing and maybe seeing if anyone was with her.
‘One of the men then came to the counter and asked me in Hindi about mobile phone top-up vouchers.
‘He went out of the shop first and turned right. The security camera shows him waiting outside the charity shop.
‘The girl bought something – sweets I think – and walked out of my shop and past the man who was waiting outside the shop next door.
‘He followed her slightly and asked her something which made her turn round. He’d apparently asked her if she was alone and if she needed any help.
‘At this point a woman in a long turquoise dress walked into the charity shop but glanced towards them as she went in. She was obviously worried about what was going on.
‘A few seconds later she came out the shop and challenged the man. I heard her say to him that she was going to call the police and she asked the girl to come with her.
‘The girl, who was by now quite confused and scared, went with the woman into the shop. The man hung around momentarily but then walked off towards Natwest Bank on the other side of the road.’
The young girl was walking on the High Street in West Wickham, Bromley, south east London (file image)
The Met released images of the two men they wish to speak to. One is wearing a long-sleeved grey top while the other had a white T-shirt on.
A force spokesman said: ‘Detectives investigating an attempted abduction have released images of two men they want to identify and speak with.
‘At 11:45hrs on Saturday, June 24, an 11-year-old girl was approached by a man on High Street, West Wickham who tried to convince her to leave with him.
‘A member of the public, seeing the child looked nervous, intervened and took her into a shop.
‘Officers are keen to hear from anyone who can name the men in the images.
‘If you can name them or have any information that could assist this investigation please call 101 or Tweet @MetCC quoting 3430/24JUN23.’
The incident happened just days after another suspected abduction in South London, where a man tried to encourage a child to get into his silver Ford Transit van during the school run.
A parent reported that someone tried to abduct their child on Purneys Road in Greenwich, attempting to entice them into the back, but the parent intervened in the nick of time.