DETECTIVES investigating two attempted abductions of schoolchildren in Hampshire have made an arrest.

Hampshire police said a 43-year-old man from Hastings in Sussex was arrested by officers working in Sussex last night.

It comes after a 49-year-old arrested on Thursday in connection with the abductions was released with no charge and no further action.

The first incident happened in Leigh Park, Havant, at 1.50pm on Tuesday, when a 12-year-old girl was grabbed from behind in ‘yellow brick road’, which runs between Purbrook Way and Middle Park Way.

The next day, at about 8.30am, a man attempted to grab an 11-year-old boy in Southleigh Road, Emsworth. The boy was about to cross the road when a man left a van and grabbed the boy’s wrist. The boy shouted, screamed and pinched the man, who let go, and the boy ran away across the road into the traffic.

Police said today they have received no other reports of attempted abductions in the area since Wednesday morning, and the investigation is not being linked to any other suspicious incidents elsewhere in Hampshire or the UK.

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Jeff Huggett said the Sussex arrest is one of several lines of enquiry.

He said: “This investigation remains a priority for Hampshire Constabulary with officers and staff working extra shifts over the weekend to pursue lines of enquiry swiftly.

“This arrest in Sussex is one of several leads we are following at this time. No one has been charged or convicted. Therefore, police must keep an open mind and ask the public not to reach hasty conclusions while we are gathering and analysing information.

“I would like to thank our colleagues in Sussex Police for their assistance, and appeal again for members of the public to come forward with any information.

“Further enquiries identified two specific motorists who could be important witnesses to the second attempted abduction in Southleigh Road in Emsworth.

“The 11-year-old victim provided more details about two vehicles whose motorists sounded their horns at him when he ran into traffic away from his attempted abductor.

“We are renewing a direct appeal for the drivers of a gold-coloured Mini-style car or similar model, and a blue Vauxhall, to come forward and speak with the police about what they saw. The boy remembers the descriptions of these cars in Southleigh Road at around 8.30am on Wednesday, December 19.”

Police are appealing for the motorists, anyone other witnesses or anyone with information to call CID at Waterlooville Police Station on 101, quoting Operation Orris, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.