A MAN has been charged after a teenage girl was approached by a stranger on her way to school.

David Peter Young, 32, of Garton Close, Ifield, Crawley, has been charged with kidnap with intent to commit a relevant sexual offence, kidnap, impersonating a police officer and two breaches of a sexual harm prevention order.

He was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court today.

The 14-year-old girl was making her way to school in the Three Bridges area on Wednesday morning (October 13), when she was approached by a man wearing a yellow hi-viz jacket, who took her to an adjacent area off the road and searched her clothing before cycling away.

The girl is safe and unharmed and is receiving support.

Superintendent Marc Clothier sought to reassure people and said there have been no similar reports and that there is no current risk to anyone in the community in relation to this case.

He said: “You will see more uniformed patrols in the area and we encourage you to stop and talk to us if you have any concerns.”

He also gave advice on how to identify a police officer.

He said: “Genuine officers can use their police radio on loud speaker to talk to the operator in the police control room.

“The operator can confirm the identity of the officer, that they are on duty and carrying out legitimate policing business.

“You can also ask a passer-by to observe. Off-duty officers intervening in a crime in action or where someone is vulnerable, and not carrying a radio, will quickly call 999 for back up.”

Anyone with information that can assist police in their investigation is advised to call 101, quoting Operation Lonsdale.

Have you got a story for us? Email news@theargus.co.uk or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.