A WARNING has been issued to families after a man reportedly approached school children to ask them to take his photo.

The Rochford Community Policing Team have said the man has been attempting to engage with high school students in Hockley.

A spokesman for the policing team said: "We have been made aware of concerns from members of the community after reports that a man has been acting suspiciously in the area of Broad Parade Shops in Hockley, over the past few days.

"It was reported that a man, who is described as having dark skin, dark facial hair and travels in a white van, has attempted to engage with students from the High School by asking them to take a photo of him, for his passport."

Community Policing Team Inspector Cathy Calder said: "This unusual behaviour has understandably caused the students and their parents or carers some concern.

"It's important that if you see anyone acting suspiciously or are approached by a man matching this description, then please report it to us.

"I ask that you don't speculate, particularly on social media, as this can cause unnecessary worry when rumours are treated as facts.

"We will work with the schools to provide any relevant updates to our investigation.

"Our officers will be on patrol in the area, particularly when students are going to and from school to offer reassurance.

"If you have any concerns or information, please come and speak to us. Where here to listen and help."

Anyone with information can make a report online by going to www.essex.police.uk or call 101.

You can also contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.