POLICE are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a man attempted to pull a child away from its mother on a woodland footpath.

Officers received reports that the two-year-old girl was walking with her mother along the Spinney footpath in Priestley Road between Basingstoke hospital and the Post Office sorting office around 4pm and 4.30pm yesterday (April 25).

The mother, who is in her 20s, was carrying the little girl when a man approached and attempted to pull the child out of her arms.

He was unsuccessful and left the scene.

Police wish to speak to a man and a woman who were walking in the opposite direction and saw what happened.

The man officers wish to talk to is believed to have chased after the suspect who ran towards the car park for Basingstoke hospital.

A 25-year-old man from Basingstoke has been identified and has been taken to a secure hospital unit.

Both the child and her mother were uninjured.

Basingstoke chief inspector Stuart Ratcliffe said: “I want to reassure the public that this was an extremely unusual and isolated incident.

“We have identified a suspect who remains in a secure unit at this time and officers will be following this up robustly.

“We would very much like to speak to the couple who were walking in the opposite direction and who witnessed this incident.”

If anyone has any information regarding the incident they are asked to contact the police on 101 and quoting reference 44190142475.