Stranger told 10-year-old boy to get in van ‘if they want to meet Lionel Messi’

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A 10-year-old boy has been approached by a man who tried to lure him into a van by promising him a meeting with Argentinian international Lionel Messi.

The incident occurred at around 5.35pm on Sunday, June 13 on Seabank Road in New Brighton, Wirral, Merseyside.

Liverpool Echo reports the suspect, a man described as white with black hair and beard and aged somewhere between 20 and 30 years old approached the boy and claimed that the Barcelona and Argentina superstar was waiting in his van.

He pointed to a white van that was parked up a little way up the road on the road.

The boy refused and ran home after the incident and has been praised for his quick thinking.

The man did not make any physical contact with the boy, who was unharmed, the paper reports.

Merseyside Police is now appealing for any witnesses or anyone who may have CCTV or dashcam footage to come forward.

Inspector Paul Harrison said: "We are taking this incident seriously and carrying out an investigation to find out who was involved.

"The boy who was approached did the right thing in getting in touch with the police, and we would advise anyone faced with a similar situation to do exactly that."

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He added: "While no-one was physically harmed during the incident, the nature of the man’s behaviour has understandably left a young boy feeling apprehensive, and we would urge anyone with any information or dashcam footage from the Seabank Road area on Sunday to contact police or Crimestoppers with any information.

"Our community officers will continue to visit schools and work with teachers to give appropriate stranger danger advice to pupils, and it is encouraging to see that the message is being taken on board."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police's social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook 'Merseyside Police CC'.

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