A young girl playing in the street has been left traumatised after she was grabbed by a stranger and forced into bushes, police have said.
Officers are now desperately hunting the offender who ran off after attempting to take the little girl during the horrifying daytime incident.
Sussex Police said they are investigating a report that a man grabbed a young girl in a street in Littlehampton, and are now appealing for information surrounding the incident, The Mirror reports.
At about 5pm on Monday the girl, who is aged six and has not been named, was playing in an open area in a street called Timberleys in Littlehampton.
She was then approached by the unidentified man, officers said.
He is claimed to have forced her into some nearby bushes but made off after about a minute when it is believed he was distracted by relatives calling out for the girl.
The child was thankfully physically unharmed and ran back to her relatives nearby.
She and her family are currently being supported by specially trained officers.
The suspect is described as black and in his 40s, with short dark hair, wearing a black top with a blue/grey rain jacket.
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Chief Inspector Jon Carter, Arun and Chichester District Commander, said: "The motive for this isolated incident is not clear at present and we have been in the area seeking to establish the circumstances and contact any witnesses.
"If you witnessed the incident or have any other information, please contact us either online or by ringing 101, quoting Operation Assertive.
"We are carrying out a detailed investigation into this concerning incident but we also emphasise that, at this stage, this is an isolated report, and there have been no similar reports in the area or further afield recently.
"I recognise the concern that incidents like this will cause parents in the area. The investigation is being pursued quickly and rigorously, and local officers will be conducting increased patrols.
"Local people should continue to take sensible precautions to keep their children safe. If you see any suspicious behaviour around children call us on 999 at once."
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