BY EVA BAXTER
At about 3:15PM on June 7 a 12-year-old girl was waiting to be picked up after school at the intersection of Terry and Thornton streets in Rozelle when she was approached by a man who was not known to her.
Police have been told the man attempted to speak to the girl and asked her to come with him.
The girl fled on foot and sought assistance in a nearby shop, before the matter was reported to police.
The Cat and Fiddle Hotel reported the incident in a Facebook post on June 8, “He started chasing her from school and followed her until she headed towards the Cat and Fiddle Hotel. He stopped when she headed towards the Hotel because there were too many people coming in and out.”
“So PLEASE (sic) tell your children, if they ever feel in danger, to come straight into the pub and seek out one of our staff. They will be safe and taken care of until someone can get there to collect them.”
The Cat and Fiddle Hotel has launched a Pubsafe initiative in response and will put forward a motion for endorsement from Inner West Council and an endorsement from the Australian Hotels Association.
Part of Community
Anna Clark, sales and marketing manager at the Cat and Fiddle, said pubs are “part of the community, the locals know us and especially in an area like Balmain and the Inner West, there’s pubs on virtually every corner, so they’re such an institution.”
“So many parents have responded so favourably and thanked us for the idea because it’s not something that they would normally consider.”
The Cat and Fiddle’s post has received approximately 650 likes, 200 comments and 590 shares.
Anna said it had a “wonderful” response, “a lot of businesses have commented on our post saying they would also be a safe haven, so I think it’s a really great community initiative.”
She said people may not feel confident with their kids knocking on a door, but they would if it were a business.
NSW Police encourage children to always walk straight home or to the place they are walking to, to walk near busier roads and streets or use paths where there are lots of other people and know where safe places are, a shop, service station, police station, library or school.
Officers from Leichhardt Police Area Command have commenced an investigation, which includes canvassing local businesses for CCTV footage.
As investigations continue, police would like to speak to a man who might be able to assist with inquiries.
The man is described as being of Caucasian appearance, aged between 60 and 80, with shoulder-length white hair. He was wearing a brown puffer jacket, black pants and white Nike joggers.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Leichhardt Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.