Police are hunting an individual who has been frightening young children by lurking around their school gates wearing a sinister pig mask.
There have been reports of the suspect targeting children at two separate schools in the Barnards Green area of Malvern, Worcestershire, by jumping out at them.
The Chase School Malvern, a secondary school with 1,500 pupils, has written to parents warning them about the man and urging them to report any incidents to police.
There are also reports of the offender, who has been locally branded “Pig Man”, outside Great Malvern Primary School, which has 345 pupils aged three to 11.
West Mercia Police has stepped up patrols in the area but as yet no one has been arrested in connection with the incidents.
Stacey Lee, 31, said her 11-year-old daughter Misha is now too scared to walk to school.
She said: “Misha took a video when she was walking back from school on her own on November 27.
“I thought it might’ve been a one-off, but he was back outside the school yesterday. She sent the video to me on Whatsapp, concerned, saying: ‘There’s a man in a pig hat.’
“She’d only just started walking to school and she’s stopped now. We collected her today because she’s scared.
“Yesterday he was jumping in front of kids and throwing his arms out to scare them.
“I rang the police straight away but they weren’t interested. They said: ‘That sounds bizarre – just talk to the school about it.’
“They didn’t even ask which schools my children went to. I thought that was appalling.”
Residents have also expressed their fears about Pig Man on social media and criticised the force for not acting sooner to protect the children.
Stacey Dooley wrote on Facebook: “Not only is it scaring children – it’s also scaring parents.”
Gemma Phillips added: “Someone needs to stop him! Very creepy behaviour. Police should be dealing with it not waiting. Ridiculous.”
David Denny said: “Pig Man is the talk of all my daughter’s friends. It might sound like a harmless prank but it is seriously frightening young girls and it’s just wrong, creepy and weird.”
Lynne Williams posted: “With all that’s happened in recent days, I can’t believe the police aren’t interested in this! Bonkers beyond belief.”
Paul Webb wrote: “I am walking my kids to school and picking them up.”
An email sent to Chase School parents on Wednesday said: “We have been notified by several students and parents of a man acting strangely outside school yesterday.
“The man was wearing a full pig mask and approaching students on their way home.
“The police are aware and are dealing with this matter, they are also aware of a video circulating on social media and should you have any more concerns about this incident please contact the police in the first instance.
“A message has been sent to all staff and students to reassure them. Should you have any future concerns about members of the public please ask your children to report it to a member of staff or alternatively report it to the police through 101.”
Sergeant Christopher Day, of West Mercia Police, said: “We understand that this will be very alarming to the local community and parents of those at the school.
“However, I would like to reassure you that a thorough investigation is underway to ensure that we identify the individual involved and to establish the motivation behind their actions.
“We have also increased our patrols in the local area. Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact us on 101 quoting reference 422s 31119.”