Police are seeking a man who silently approached a boy and grabbed hold of his wrist while he was looking at Easter eggs on display at the Tesco Express store in Stonecross, on Friday (March 27).
The terrified 12-year-old screamed at his assailant and managed to break free, running to a friend’s home for help, police said.
The incident happened at around 7.30pm.
Police said the man was described as white, in his early 50s, 6’ tall and with a moustache.
He was wearing old ripped jeans, a dark blue hooded top with the hood raised and its drawstrings pulled tightly around his face.
Police Constable Chris Yabsley, of Eastbourne police neighbourhood response team, said: “The boy was very shaken by the whole ordeal and his parents are worried about the man’s motivation for grabbing him, which at this time is unknown.
“This would appear to be an isolated incident but we are keen to speak to the man concerned. Anyone who saw the incident or who may have other information is asked to contact police without delay.”
They can do so by emailing email@example.com or phoning 101, quoting serial 1504 of 27/3.
Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers without having to leave their name on 0800 555111.