A SWISS student studying in Eastbourne has contacted police three times since September after being affected by crime in the town.
The parents of the 16-year-old, who is studying at a language school and staying with a host family in Eastbourne, say their son is due to stay in the town until June and is determined to continue his studies.
His mother has told the Herald her son was the victim of crime just four days after he arrived in the town. She explained four men stole his bicycle and jacket while he was cycling near Whitley Road recreation ground.
She said, “They threw him to ground and hit him. He barely escaped and after hours at the police station and hours of anguish, he has recovered and realised this misadventure could have happened in any city, even in Switzerland.”
His mother has praised the police in Eastbourne because the bike was found and returned to her son.
However, the Swiss teenager then contacted the police again after being approached by what he described as a ‘50-year-old pervert’ last month (January).
Officers spoke to the youngster but concluded that no offences had been committed but his mother has told the Herald he was shocked after being approached by the man.
The student then witnessed a group of his friends being threatened by teenagers with a knife outside the Curzon Cinema in Eastbourne town centre on January 25. Police were again called and are investigating.
Inspector Rachel Barrow said, “We monitor offences against students and visitors to the town very carefully. It is really unusual for an individual to be involved or subject to that number of offences during their stay in the town.
“We work closely with language schools and are very much involved with the Overseas Student Advisory Committee (OSAC), which is continually putting out safety messages. We are keeping the family and the language school involved in the investigation.”
The teenage victim’s mother and father, who live in Geneva, Switzerland, have said they want to warn other foreign students to be careful. His father added, “We sent him to Eastbourne because we heard it was one of the safest seaside towns in England and we wanted our son to learn independence and life experience.
“I have regrets about what has happened but I do not regret sending my son to Eastbourne. We never expected this to happen and are hopeful things will improve. We have been very impressed with the police and the language school for their assistance.”