A SIX-YEAR-OLD girl was grabbed by a stranger and forced into some bushes while playing in the street.
The man attacked the youngster in broad daylight in an open area near Timberleys in Littlehampton, West Sussex.
Police said he made off a minute or so later after he was distracted by relatives calling out for the girl on Monday.
The youngster was physically unharmed and ran back to her family.
Officers described the suspect as being black, in his 40s, with short dark hair.
He was wearing a black top with a blue or grey rain jacket at the time.
Chief Inspector Jon Carter, Arun and Chichester District Commander, said the “concerning” incident, which took place at about 5pm, is being treated as “isolated”.
“The motive for this isolated incident is not clear at present and we have been in the area seeking to establish the circumstances and contact any witnesses,” he said.
“We are carrying out a detailed investigation into this concerning incident but we also emphasise that, at this stage, this is an isolated report, and there have been no similar reports in the area or further afield recently.
“I recognise the concern that incidents like this will cause parents in the area.
“The investigation is being pursued quickly and rigorously, and local officers will be conducting increased patrols.
“Local people should continue to take sensible precautions to keep their children safe.
“If you see any suspicious behaviour around children call us on 999 at once.”
He urged witnesses or anyone with information to contact cops online or by ringing 101, quoting Operation Assertive.
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