A 12-year-old boy narrowly missed being kidnapped after a man in a monkey mask got out of a car and approached him near a bus stop, it has been reported.

The man was a passenger in white car which stopped on Elm Grove, Brighton, at 3.10pm before the driver asked the boy if he would like a lift home.

They fled when two passers-by intervened, according to Brighton & Hove News.

A friend of the boy’s mother posted a warning on social media on Friday night. She said: ‘A warning to parents! My friend’s son was approached today by a man in a white car claiming to know his dad saying that he would take him home.

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‘As the man in the driver’s seat was talking to him a man in the back wearing a monkey mask and a ponytail tried to get out of the back of the car and get him but two members of the public stopped it from happening.’

The driver was said to be a white man in his 40s or 50s with a Scottish accent, while his passenger was also described as being white and of large build.

His mask appeared to be a coronavirus face covering with a monkey design, according to The Sun.

DS Mike Ashcroft of Sussex Police said: ‘We are pursuing several lines of enquiry as we work to establish the full circumstances.

‘We are appealing directly to the two individuals who stepped in to help to come forward and speak to the officers investigating the circumstances of this incident. We are also appealing to any other witnesses in the area who may have seen what happened.

‘Be assured that incidents such as these are extremely rare and we would urge anyone in this situation to walk away or call for help and dial 999 immediately.

Anyone with information is asked to report online or call 101, quoting 894 of 22/10.