PARENTS and residents in Ringwood are still in shock after two men attempted to kidnap a toddler in broad daylight at a local beauty spot.

Those dropping their children off at Poulner Infant School on Thursday morning said they were still trying to wrap their heads around the brazen kidnapping attempt which happened less than a mile away from the school the day before.

As reported, the child was walking with her mother and dog in The Mount on Wednesday morning when they were approached by two men.

One of the men grabbed the child and ran with her towards a nearby housing estate. Incredibly, the attempt was thwarted when the family dog chased after them and bit the man on his leg causing him to let the girl go.

Bournemouth Echo: The Mount in RingwoodThe Mount in Ringwood

In the time since the incident, residents say they remain disturbed by what took place.

One mother and friend of the victim’s family said she forbade her children from playing outside after hearing about what happened.

She said: “I’m in a WhatsApp group with the mum and so the message got round to us very quickly.

“It’s not something that happens around here so I was shocked. It was then a case of me not wanting my kids out – I didn’t let them out at all last night. I said you can play in the house, you can have your friends over but you’re staying here. I kept a proper eye on them.

Bournemouth Echo: Poulner Infant School in RingwoodPoulner Infant School in Ringwood

“Normally I’m one of those parents who encourages them to play outside because that’s what I did as a kid and because it’s usually safe here.

“Hopefully they find one of the men in a hospital somewhere because of the dog bite. I’m really hoping they get found before anything happens again.

“It’s the worst thing that could happen to a parent so we’ve had some conversations about keeping the kids more safe at school, maybe make the fencing higher or something because this happened too close to the infant school.”

She also stressed how the Ringwood community would rally around and take care of the family.

Bournemouth Echo: The Mount in RingwoodThe Mount in Ringwood

An elderly man who lives several houses away from where the incident took place described the attempted kidnapping as “horrifying”.

He said: “I don’t know much apart from what the police told me that a child was nearly abducted here which is a shock in and of itself.

“It’s horrifying really. I’ve got a young granddaughter myself and I often go wondering about on The Mount with her – it makes you think.

“I’ve been here 40 odd years and have never heard of anything like this before.”

The two men were described as white, in their late 30s, both approximately 5ft 7ins tall, wearing caps – with one wearing light blue jeans and the other dark jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to please call 101 quoting 44220185316 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.