Authorities in Richmond are seeking to reassure Ham residents after an attempted child abduction was reported there yesterday (Monday, November 16).

Officers from the Met Police operating in Richmond responded to reports that a man had approached a young child on Monday afternoon in Ham.

They said they spoke with the child and a family member and are now conducting a "thorough investigation to establish the full circumstances of what happened."

"No injuries were reported, and officers do not believe at this stage this was an attempted abduction," a spokesperson said.

Inspector Rebecca Robinson, from Richmond Police, said:

“We have spoken to the child and the family and conducted a full investigation. We do not believe there was an attempted abduction at this time.

“Anyone who may have information about this incident is encouraged to call police on 101 and quote CAD 4863/09NOV20.”

The news broke just days after at least two attempted abductions occurred in the nearby South West London borough of Merton.

As the Wimbledon Times reported, the first of these took place in Mitcham on November 3, leading to the arrest of a suspected rapist.

In the second case, a man attempted to grab a boy on the morning of November 4 in Colliers Wood.

Addressing the Ham incident in a statement, Richmond Council Leader Cllr Gareth Roberts suggested social media had helped spread possible disinformation about the alleged abduction police are now downplaying:

"We know that when there are incidents, rumours spread on social media and What’s App groups like wildfire. Sometimes this is helpful and other times - not so," he said.

“I have spoken to the Police and they currently believe that this was NOT an abduction. However, that is not to say that families should not be vigilant.

"Our children and young people’s safety is everyone’s responsibility.

"It is prudent to remind your children about being safe during their journeys to and from school such as travelling with other people where possible, ignoring any requests to get into vehicles with persons that they do not know, keeping to public areas where possible and drawing attention to themselves or going into a public place such as a shop to ask for assistance if they feel threatened," Cllr Roberts added.