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Man acting suspiciously at Haigh Hall Country Park
Tuesday 31st October, 2006

Police in Wigan are warning parents to be extra vigilant following reports that a man has been seen acting suspiciously in bushes at Haigh Hall Country Park.

The incidents are all reported to have happened in the past five weeks and involved a man hiding in the bushes close to the children's play area.

The first incident happened on Sunday 17 September 2006 at 4.30pm. A man approached two 6-year-old girls who were playing in the park and asked them their names. He told them his name and that he had stung his stomach on some nettles, lifting his top to show them.

One of the little girls then told him that she had a suntanned stomach and he asked to see this. He then exposed himself to the girls and began urinating. The girls ran away and told their parents what had happened.

One week later on Sunday 25 September 2006 at 1pm a man was seen hiding in the bushes watching children playing.

Two weeks later on Sunday 8 October 2006 a woman saw a man hiding in the bushes close to the children's play area. She challenged him about what he was doing and he said he was waiting for a child. He then walked off.

This man is described as white, 30-40 years old, 5'10'' - 6' tall and of slim build. He had mousey brown short hair and spoke with a local accent. He was wearing a dark blue shirt and blue jeans.

The final report came to police on Sunday 15 October 2006 shortly before 3pm. Park wardens had received a number of reports of a man hiding in bushes at the park and approached him. As they did this the man ran off.

This man was described as white, of slim build, 6' tall and had short wavy dark hair that was in a basin cut. He was believed to be approximately 30 years old and was wearing jeans and a dark coloured jumper.

Inspector Glenn Jones, Wigan's neighbourhood Inspector, said: "Whilst we do not want to cause unnecessary fear in the community we would like parents to be especially vigilant with their children and report any concerns to us.

"We are now working closely with park wardens to try to identify this individual so he cannot cause any further distress to children playing in the park.

"I would appeal to anyone with any further information on this to contact the police on 0161 872 5050 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Rodney Hill, Chief Executive of Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust said:

"This is clearly a serious problem and we are working closely with the police to make sure Haigh Country Park remains a safe place for families to visit.

"In particular, we have been asked to cut back bushes close to the play area to, in effect, 'design out' a specific area of concern. This work will be carried out as soon as possible.

"Staff will remain extra-vigilant, security is paramount, and we would like to reassure visitors that Haigh Hall and Country Park remains as safe as any other family attraction. Events and activities are continuing as normal.

"Any visitor who spots anything of concern in the grounds can contact Haigh Hall manager Tim Sharratt, or his deputy Claire Duffy, on Tel: 01942 832895"

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