A number of parents with children at Bonchurch Park Primary School in Leigh On Sea have been describing their horror after a white van on the sex offenders register was spotted parked close to the entrance. After local police checked the number plate on the 2014 Ford Transit, it emerged that the vehicle had been convicted of sexual offences dating right back to 1973 – an officer confirmed that it had recently moved into the Southend area under a new identity after being released from prison.
A local police source spoke to Southend News Network about the incident. He said: ‘We can confirm that the van was in breach of its probation conditions by parking less than 50ft away from a school building, and it has now been taken back into custody until a decision can be made. We cannot give any further information about the offences carried out by this vehicle in the past, but we can confirm that it is now being questioned by officers working on Operation Slide – the ongoing investigation into historical abuse allegations by light goods vehicles of less than 7.5 tonnes in weight.’
Concerned parent Natasha Fronge said: ‘I was dropping my kids off at the main door when I started to feel very uneasy about the white van, and I knew that something suspicious was going on when we walked past it and the rear wiper started swinging very quickly from side to side. It makes me sick that any old light goods vehicle with valid insurance and an MOT can park close to a school where there are children present, and I will be writing to the council to demand that some kind of patrol is set up in the area to stop this from happening in the future.’