Hampshire police say they are taking the reports seriously in relation to suspicious activity taking place in Stoke Park Woods, Bishopstoke following a warning that a man was following females.
Members of the community feel unsafe knowing the man is yet to be caught and plans of group walks had been put in place to ensure females feel safer walking together.
Hampshire police today said;
“Currently conducting hi visibility patrols in Stoke Park Wood, Fair Oak/Bishopstoke following recently reported suspicious activity. If you notice suspicious behaviour please call us on 101 or report online 999 in an emergency.”
“An urgent warning is issued to walkers using the Stoke Park Woodland Area after a male on several occasions has followed females in the woodland leaving some running to safety.
Police have recieved calls today after a male has followed females over a distance, there has been reports of a similar situation in the past weeks.
The advise is do not put yourself at risk, where possible walk with others and in the event you are followed or feel at risk you should call police immediately on 999. If you are able to do so get to a safe location and update police using the What3words app.
The male was seen wearing a black hoodie, dark grey/black shorts and with a hood up.
Sergeant Kevin Hercock from Eastleigh police stated;
“I am aware of a number of reports about suspicious behaviour at Stoke Park Woods circulating on Social Media, whilst I am confident that the posts are being added with the best intentions, please report incidents to the police and not via Social Media. Third hand reporting or comments in relation to these incidents are likely to frustrate any future police activity or investigation.
We are investigating the incident (s) and would ask any other persons who have concerns that they have been followed to contact Hampshire Constabulary at the earliest convenience on 101 or via the online reporting tool http://orlo.uk/WTXt5
As you know Eastleigh Police continue to be grateful for your support and this has produced some excellent results over recent months but I want to ensure we accurately understand what is occurring, to allow for the appropriate action.
Our advice always would be running in daylight is a safer choice, but if you have to run at night or in the early morning:
•Choose a well-lit route
•Be visible – wear bright and reflective clothing
•Vary your route and time
•Stay aware of your surroundings – avoid wearing headphones
•Take your phone with you so you can call for assistance if you are injured or concerned
•If possible run with someone else
If you think you are being followed:
•Cross the road to see if the person does the same
•Go into a busy public place such as petrol station, pub or shop
•Call someone to come and meet you
•Report it to the police at the time of the incident”