A HAMPSHIRE school today sparked a security alert after a man was spotted taking photographs of children in the playground.

The police were called and staff searched the area but the stranger had disappeared.

Kings Worthy Primary School, which has around 390 pupils, sent out an email to parents this afternoon.

Sarah Vittle, co-headteacher, said: “Today at lunchtime a man was seen, taking photographs of children playing, from the path at the top gate. As soon as staff were alerted, the police were informed and staff searched the area. We have given a detailed description of the man to the police. We have requested that the local PCSOs be present within the school area at 3.30 today.

“The children have been reminded this afternoon about ‘stranger danger’. If your child walks home alone and you wish to make a different arrangement for this afternoon, please contact the school office immediately.

“We don’t wish to cause alarm and this incident is being investigated, however we are taking it seriously and would encourage you to be vigilant this weekend and during the forthcoming schools holidays.”

Ms Vittle declined to speak to the Daily Echo.

But in a statement she said: “The safety of the children at school is paramount. Today children reported a man passing the school taking photographs. The school has reported this to the police and have issued a note to parents in order to make them aware.”

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said officers were called at 1.13pm to reports of a man “acting suspiciously” outside the school and reportedly taking photos.

They searched the area but no one matching his description was found, she said.

He is described as white, with grey hair balding on top.

He wore glasses, a red chequered shirt and a blue cardigan.

Inspector Jon Turton said: “We appreciate this incident may worry the local community. We will be following up the investigation with the school to ensure staff, parents and children are reassured.”