POLICE are appealing for witnesses after the attempted abduction of a schoolgirl last Friday (25 June) on the wooded public footpath near to Philip Southcote School in Addlestone Moor.

“The incident happened at around 4.30pm when the girl was alone. The suspect attempted to grab the girl from over a fence and put his hand over her mouth to keep her quiet,” said a police spokesman. “Fortunately the girl was able to get out of his grip and the suspect then fled the scene.”

He is described as a white male, around 20-30 years old, with short, light-brown hair, tall and of medium build. He smelt of cigarette smoke and was wearing a dark green jacket, dark blue denim jeans and Nike trainers with a white sole.

Officers arrived within 10 minutes of the incident and completed an extensive area search. No-one fitting the description was found and the dog unit could not pick up a scent because of heavy foot traffic in the area.

Inspector James Wyatt, Runnymede’s Borough Commander, said: “This is an extremely serious incident and something that is deeply disturbing to both the victim and the local community.

“Fortunately, this kind of incident is very rare and we have stepped up our patrols in the area to help everyone feel as safe as possible.

“We are currently completing extensive investigations to identify the perpetrator and if you recognise the description or have any relevant information, we would like to hear from you.”

If you have any information about the incident, call 101 or visit surrey.police.uk, quoting reference PR/45210066905. Information can also be given anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.