TWO schoolgirls fled in terror after a pair of drunk men tried to use sweets to lure them away from a park.
The two eight-year-olds were out playing when the drama happened in Maywood Avenue on Sunday morning.
They only managed to get away when one of the schoolgirls swung her scooter into the shins of one of the men.
The mother of one of the girls told of her horror when her terrified daughter ran home and told her what happened and says it could’ve been worse.
“When you think what happened to poor little April Jones in Wales, it’s very scary to think there were two men trying to lure two little girls here,” said the mother.
Police are now investigating and trawling through CCTV images at the Premier Store in Holly Place in an attempt to trace the men as they were seen near the shop.
The two girls were in the park off Holly Place with one of the girls’ pet Westie dog at 11.42am when they were approached by the men who they say were drunk.
The two men tried to persuade the girls to go with them and grabbed the dog and hit it hard across the back. One of the little girls swung her scooter in to the man’s leg which caused him to drop the dog and her and her school friend ran off.
Both men started calling after the girls saying they wouldn’t get any sweets if they ran away and began chasing them. The two girls ran to safety.
The mother of the girl said, “She was very brave but this has shaken both of them up. Even if these two men thought they were having a bit of a laugh it’s sick because of what’s happened with the little girl still missing in Wales. Once she was home safe I thought how much worse it could’ve been.”
Police Inspector Rachel Barrow said police officers were treating the incident seriously.
“I can confirm police attended a report of two drunk men shouting and swearing at children in Holly Park, opposite Maywood Avenue at 11.42am Sunday.
“A search was completed of the area in an attempt to locate the two men at the time with no success. Efforts continue to try and identify these men and officers from the Neighbourhood Policing Team will be visiting the local schools and the families effected to offer support and reassurance.”
Police are also appealing for witnesses and anyone with any information is asked to contact Sussex Police by calling 101 and quoting serial 640 7/10/12.