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Boy, 14, latest victim of ‘child snatch gang’ amid reports of SEVEN kidnap attempts in Worcester

A 14-YEAR-OLD boy is feared to be the latest victim of a terrifying gang preying on teenagers and women in Worcester.

Detectives are investigating seven chilling incidents which have taken place in the Arboretum area of the city since September 10.

In the latest incident, schoolboy Xanda Chesworth was approached by two men as he walked home from Tudor Grange Academy on Friday afternoon.

The teenager said he was grabbed by strangers in the street and told: “Come with us.”

He said: “I turned down the road and two men were standing there.

“The pavement is quite narrow with cars parked on the side and there was not any space. I could just get by.

“They said: ‘Come through’. I started to go near them when a mixed-race guy grabbed the bottom of my blazer.

“They said: ‘Come with us’. I thought they were going to take me away.

“At that point I dropped my bag and ran. I started shouting and screaming. And they started walking towards me.”

Xanda’s dad Alex has now bought his son and daughter panic alarms to carry while they walk to and from school.

One of the men was mixed race, in his 40s and wearing a dark-coloured jumper. He also said he was skinny and about 6ft tall.

They said: ‘Come with us’. I thought they were going to take me away.”

The other man was apparently black and in his late 30s or early 40s. He was around 6ft 1ins and wore a dark shirt.

The disturbing incident is the latest kidnapping attempt in the city. It is unclear whether police have linked the incidents.

On most of the occasions, young women or children were either approached, chased and even grabbed by men in a silver-coloured vehicle.

Ellesse Robinson, 15, was left sobbing when she fled four men who tried to snatch her off the street on September 20.

The schoolgirl was walking to a shop at 7pm when a car pulled up next to her.

She said: “As I walked out of the shop and was waiting at the traffic lights, a grey Peugeot pulled up very slowly towards me.

“Two men in the back told me to ‘come’. I stepped back then the man in the front passenger side opened his car door and I genuinely thought he was going to grab me.

“I felt so scared as they were all in their mid or early 30s and really big.

“They sounded Turkish or Romanian, they were all tanned. After he opened his door I basically shouted ‘No! no! no!’ repeatedly.”

The following day, Keeley Austen-Marsden, 21, was chased by two men as she walked a mile from where Ellesse was approached.

Later that evening three girls, including one aged just eight, were approached by men two miles away.

The girls were followed by the men before they ran into a Co-op shop where police were called.

Parents have also been warned after several incidents of suspicious men seen loitering outside the city’s schools.

West Mercia Police have stepped up patrols across the city following the spate of worrying incidents.

Detective inspector Ed Slough and inspector Dave Troth from West Mercia Police, said: “We are aware of heightened concerns surrounding the reporting on social media and local news reports of a group of men in a silver or grey saloon car approaching people in the Arboretum area of Worcester.

“Some incidents are reported to have happened whilst children have been walking home from school or in the early evening.”

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