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POLICE have this morning moved to allay fears among parents after a schoolgirl reported being followed by a man.

The nine-year-old was walking along a footpath off Shakespeare Road in Boyatt Wood, Eastleigh when she started to become “uncomfortable” about the presence of a man behind her.

She ran to her mother's car and the man walked past without stopping. The scenario unfolded as children were being picked up after school yesterday.

Police say they have talked to the family and that the man made no attempt to speak to the girl or attract her attention.

A spokesman said it appeared to be an “innocent” occurrence but that extra police patrols were being rolled out in the area to provide reassurance for parents.

Eastleigh Police Sergeant Chris Spellerberg added: “It appears on this occasion that there is no cause for concern.

“It is reassuring that children are alert to potential dangers and that the young girl had the confidence to discuss the matter with her mother.

“We'd encourage anyone with a concern not to keep it to themselves, we also need to ensure children and parents feel confident and safe in their communities.

“We regularly have officers on patrol in the vicinity of schools at the start and end of the school day, including this week. We'd also encourage any parents with questions or concerns they have to speak to us.”