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A 12-year-old girl's admitted making up a story that a man tried to abduct her in Southampton.
The girl was walking to school and had told police that a man in a white transit van tried to grab her and force her into the van but she managed to fight him off and run to school.
Last night, (Wednesday, October 3), the girl admitted to police that she had made up the entire story.
Police say considerable resources had been invested to investigate the allegation which raised unnecessary alarm and concerns within the local community. It also resulted in officers being taken away from investigating other crimes.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete McGowan said: “Whenever an allegation is made, rumour quickly spreads within the local community and quite understandably people become anxious, especially when the word 'abduction' is used. This in turn could create hysteria which leads to an increase in reporting.
“Also, placing and passing on unconfirmed rumour, especially through social networks like Facebook only heightens the problem and causes increased concern within the neighbourhood and local school communities. We would therefore strongly urge people not to engage in this practice.
“Rest assured that the police will always pro-actively release information to the public through the media and social network sites if and when an incident has occurred.
The officer concluded: “The girl now realises that what she did was wrong and has shown regret and remorse and no further action will be taken on this occasion. However, making any false or malicious claim to the police is a very serious offence and can result in the person being arrested.”