ALERT: 'Man in bushes with long lens camera' spotted taking pictures of schoolgirls in Sheffield park

Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Gardens.

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Parents are being put on high alert after a 'suspicious looking man with a long lens camera' was spotted in bushes taking pictures of schoolgirls in a Sheffield park.

Two park visitors said they saw the man taking snaps of youngsters from Sheffield High School for Girls while they were doing an outdoor PE lesson in the city's scenic Botanical Gardens.

They said the man started taking pictures when the girls were running past and even attempted to follow them around the park. A second man was also seen to be acting strangely nearby.

The couple, who were not named but said they are members of Walkley Neighbourhood Watch, posted details on a social media forum. The incident happened on Wednesday, March 8, has been reported to the school and South Yorkshire Police.

They said: "While partaking in a bit of squirrel feeding today, we came across what looked to be the the young ladies from the Sheffield High School for Girls doing their PE in the Botanical Gardens, apparently it's a regular thing for them to do.

"We noticed two gents acting suspiciously - one of which, had a long zoom attached to the front of his camera which seemed only to be operated when the girls were running past and not at any other time.

"Myself and my wife took an interest in what he was doing because of how suspicious he was acting. He then decided to have a wander into the bushes, and tried to follow the ladies around the Botanicals area.

"We both kept a good eye on him because we got the inkling that he was up to no good. There was also another gentleman near the cafe who took a keep interest shall we say, in watching them run past."

They urged parents and their children to remain vigilant when using the park.

The couple added: "If your kids go to school in the area and frequent the Botanical Gardens, especially if your daughters go to Sheffield High School for Girls, and they do PE in the Botanicals, please inform them to keep a watchful eye out on gents acting odd.

"Please keep your kids safe. It could well be nothing as we know, but the oddity of the situation and the fact we got the feeling that all was not right alerted us a bit too much for us not to report it."

South Yorkshire Police have not yet released any details about the incident.