Police in Southend were called earlier today after two men were spotted walking alone in the town centre who looked a bit foreign.
More than 25 separate calls were made to local police after a message was posted on local Facebook groups raising concerns due to children using the High Street on a regular basis for walking and other activities.
The message, originally posted by Michelle Garridge said: ‘This might be nuthing bt jst seen two men in the High Street walking together and they mite be pakistani or chinese or from another asian cuntry or just in a shaded area but just wantd evryone to be aware jst in case as it mite be nuthing or it could be sumthing like peadyfiles or it mite be nuthing PLEASE SHARE FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST tia xxxxx’
Another Facebook user simply posting as Chlo Shirtpotatoes Doggets said: ‘OMG just seen them two men one of them looked at my 2yo and smiled bt dont kno for sure as they was far away near barclays you got be so careful nowadays fanx for sharing hun xxx tia mini-stroke.’
Melanee Mummykins Mummton replied: ‘One of them was talking on their phone and it looked like an IPHone which has a camera on it witch cud take pictures of my kids fucking scum bastard cunts or it mite be nuthin i dont know pleas be safe evryone xoxoxoxoxo bisto bovril.’
Southend News Network caught up with the two men shortly after these messages were posted online – our Chief Reporter spoke to them near the top end of Southend High Street by the Odeon cinema.
They wished to remain anonymous for their own safety.
One of them said: ‘It has now been made abundantly clear to us that a number of messages are circulating on social media channels making allegations about our intentions while ambulating along the road that passes through the main shopping district of Southend On Sea.’
‘We would both like to make it perfectly clear to all concerned parties that we have no underhand intentions whatsoever, and that anybody saying otherwise has undertaken a complete misinterpretation of the situation.’
‘Our automobile has been left in a secure parking facility which lies in close proximity to the centre of town, and we were simply making full use of the High Street to return to the vehicle as we calculated that it was the most logical and direct route back after availing ourselves of the public conveniences that are situated close to The Royals Shopping Centre.’
We managed to speak to Michelle Garridge who made the original allegations on social media, and she said: ‘They say that which is fine but you never know do you.’
‘All I want is for my kids to be brought up in an environment that is safe, and it is every parent’s duty to make other parents aware if they think that there is a local threat to their kids safety.’
Some sections of our interview with Ms Garridge have been edited for clarity, including all of it.