"I never thought he would go willingly with someone without physical contact"

The man needed just 90 seconds on average to convince the children to go with him, even though all had been warned about ‘stranger danger’.

Most of the children were younger than 10 and would not normally be allowed out of the house on their own, but one 11-year-old walked off with the man before realising her mistake and returning to her mother.

One of the children, a seven-year-old boy, initially refused to go with the man – but he changed his mind within 45 seconds.

‘It was extremely hard for me to do it,’ said Kerry, one of the mothers involved in the experiment who saw her son go willingly with the apparent predator.