Police patrol school zones in southern Tasmania amid reports of man offering candy to schoolchildren

An unknown man has been offering candy to children near a school in southern Tasmania, with police urging parents and community members to be on alert.

The man has reportedly been talking to children near the school after school hours in recent days, Detective Inspector Craig Joel said.

He has also been seen driving a white van.

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Joel said the man’s intentions are “unclear,” but police are investigating.

“We recognize that these reports may cause concern in the community and we want to reassure people that detectives are investigating the matter and that police are increasing patrols around school areas,” he said.

Joel urged community members to be on the lookout for unusual vehicles parked near schools or other places “where children congregate” and to report any concerning sightings to the police.

“Parents, caregivers and other community members can help us by keeping an eye out for vehicles parked in unusual locations and letting someone know if they see suspicious activity, such as an adult trying to stop and talk to children in unsupervised areas,” she said.

“If you see something suspicious, write down the description of the person and, if possible, the license plate of the vehicle.”

The man is believed to be Caucasian in appearance.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers or call 131 444.