Rumours of several attempts to lure young people into vehicles have prompted police to issue advice.
South Northants Police have received several reports of a man in a car approaching teenagers in South Northants.
Some of these have been genuine concerns while rumours circulated on social networking sites of third-hand experiences have led to some confusion.
Police confirmed there had been two reported incidents in Helmdon, two weeks apart.
On each occasion a man has engaged in conversation with a teenage girl walking alone.
Part of the discussion has related to the stranger offering a lift and on the second occasion the man reached out and touched the girl’s arm.
But police have moved to dispel rumours the incidents were linked, saying the description of both the man and the car differed in witness accounts of the incidents.
Insp Andy Hall said: “There has been understandable, significant interest in these situations via social networking since the first report this month.
“A number of other incidents have since been reported to us regarding men offering lifts to young people.
“Some of these have been third-hand and unfortunately didn’t identify the actual person affected. Some have also had an innocent explanation.
“A similar report from teenagers in Towcester was confirmed to be a case of mistaken identity with no malicious intent.
“There was another report of a man in a white van (the only description given) offering a lift to a child on his way to Greens Norton Primary School on Wednesday morning and we have had no similar reports since.”
Police have increased patrols across the area and police officers are planning to visit schools to offer reassurance to students and give them advice on their safety when travelling to and from school or if approached by a stranger.
Insp Hall said police were continuing their investigations into the incidents and were reliant on people reporting any suspicious activity to them .
He added: “We advise young people not to talk to strangers and if approached in a similar manner to tell an adult known to them straight away or ring 999.”
Parents seeking advice on how to educate their children on what to do if a stranger approaches them can use the tools available at www.kidscape.org.uk/parents-carers/stranger-danger/