PARENTS are being urged to be vigilant after a man was spotted loitering around pre-schools in the Ribble Valley.

At around midday on Tuesday police said the man walked into Little Fishes Pre-School, in Whalley Road, Langho, where he asked if he could use the toilet.

He was challenged by a member of staff and left.

Officers said the same man had also been seen hanging around a pre-school group at Langho and Billington Community Centre recently.

Police said there had been false speculation among parents that the suspicious man was linked to the alleged attempted theft of a bag from a girl in Whalley Road, Wilpshire, near the Ribchester Road junction on Thursday June 11.

But police stressed that this was separate investigation in which a 32-year-old man has been charged.

He has appeared in court and been remanded in custody.

After the alleged attempted theft last Thursday, the head-teacher of Salesbury Primary – which is near where the theft happened – issued a letter to parents asking them to be careful and report anything suspicious to police.

In the letter head-teacher Pauline Mallaby said the school was working with the police who had stepped up patrols in the area.

The man, who has been seen around the pre-school, is described by police as white, aged between 19 and 20 years old with short dark hair.

A police spokesperson said: “I would urge anyone who sees the man or any suspicious activity in the area to contact police.

“I would urge people around the area to be vigilant.”

Mrs Pauline Mallaby, headteacher at Salesbury CE Primary School, said in her letter: “The safety of children is of paramount importance to us and we take very seriously any perceived risk to pupils.

“However, while we are asking parents to take extra care at present, we are also encouraging them to keep calm and not panic, which may simply cause more distress to pupils.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0845 1 25 35 45 or the Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.