Police step up patrols in Combe Martin after man allegedly approached two schoolboys in his car and tried to offer them lifts.

Police are appealing for witnesses after two young boys were approached in Combe Martin by a man acting in a ‘suspicious’ manner.

On Thursday at around 3.45pm the driver of a blue vehicle parked next to a nine-year-old schoolboy and gestured for him to get into the passenger seat, but the boy carried on walking.

Then between 5pm and 5.35pm, a man drove up alongside a 10-year-old boy and asked him if he wanted a lift.

When the boy refused, the man left the vehicle and chased him for a short distance on foot causing the youngster to trip over.

Police said there was a brief altercation before the boy ran away.

Both boys were unhurt but have been left ‘shaken and upset’ by the incidents.

Police have now increased patrols in the area as they try to track down the man in question.

The suspect is described as in his early to mid 20s, around 5ft 6ins tall, with dark-coloured hair and a chubby face with stubble.

It is thought he may have a red mark or scar on his neck and a tattoo on his left wrist with green colour in the middle and was driving a blue or green car with some wheel trim missing.

He was wearing black trousers (described as a baggy skater style) and a white T-shirt.

Inspector Roger Bartlett said: “These types of incidents are extremely rare but will have caused a great deal of distress to the young lads involved and, understandably, concern in the community.

“We would like to reassure the public that enquiries are in hand to trace this vehicle and we are absolutely determined to do all we can to identify the individual involved - but we will need the help of the community to achieve this.

“We are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incidents or seen a similar vehicle or man in that area to contact us.

“We would also like to hear from anyone who lives nearby and has CCTV footage covering the area to please get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police by email at 101@dc.police.uk or telephone on 101, quoting crime reference CR/029284/16.