POLICE are warning York residents about making hoax calls and starting unfounded rumours on the internet about suspicious vehicles in the city.

Officers say that gossip and chat on social networking sites such as Facebook could damage their investigations into a serious incident on Gale Lane.

Their calls comes after St Aelred’s School, Tang Hall, in good faith, sent out warning letters about a man apparently approaching children last month.

Officers have received eight hoax calls in the last two weeks about a black Ford Mondeo with blacked out windows.

Sergeant Iain Sirrell, of York West Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “It has become apparent that an alarming number of similar reports have been false and this is derailing the ongoing investigation into, what is potentially a serious offence.

“We are also concerned about the reaction to the incidents on social networking sites, such as Facebook. It is becoming apparent that the original two incidents, which we took the decision to warn people of, are now being exaggerated on these sites.

“Whilst we are keen for people to be are aware of the initial incident and therefore be able to take appropriate action; we are also keen to prevent any social network hysteria about this issue.”

Police are not releasing details of the incident involving a suspicious vehicle in Gale Lane and genuine reports of suspicious activity can be made by calling the police on 0845 6060247.