A seven-year-old girl was approached by a man in a van in Pottsville on Monday
A seven-year-old girl was approached by a man in a van in Pottsville on Monday

‘I’m going to steal you’: Terrifying threat to girl, 7

IT'S every parent's worst nightmare, a stranger trying to abduct their child.

For one Tweed Coast mother, this nightmare was too close to be reality when her seven-year-old daughter was approached by a man in a van in Pottsville who said he wanted to "steal her".

By instilling the 'stranger danger' message into her daughter, former police officer Elke Meyer may have saved her from a potential predator.

The girl recounted how she fled from the unknown man to vacation care supervisors at Pottsville Beach Public School on Monday at 4.30pm.

Ms Meyer's daughter vividly remembers the white van with some black on it and heavily tinted windows.

"She was playing on the playground with another young boy when the van pulled up on the service road and a male voice from the van told her 'I'm going to steal you'," she said.

"My daughter could not see his face clearly.

"She took the other little boy and ran."

The Stokers Siding mum did a stint in the child abuse squad during her time in the police force and said she never takes shortcuts when it comes to safety.

"I am overprotective because I have seen first-hand the worst that can happen," she said.

"People never think this can happen to them or someone they know, you can never get complacent.

"I know of a case where the parents were only metres away from two children who went to the toilet in a park together and were so brutalised by someone waiting inside, they now cannot have children themselves."

Ms Meyer is thankful the school's fence had been upgraded to a taller one.

"Two years ago, I told the principal the front fence was too low and a disaster waiting to happen. Paedophiles are opportunists, it only takes seconds for someone to take a child," she said.

"The higher fence might have been the reason my daughter had time to run away."

Putting the word out on Facebook, the concerned mother said the online community had identified a possible similar incident in Cabarita on the same day which she had referred on to police.

"I can't fault the police, they have been incredibly thorough and are taking it very seriously," Ms Meyer said.

A NSW police spokeswoman confirmed the incident has been reported to police and inquiries were continuing.

Anyone who may have information, or who wishes to report a similar incident can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.