WELCOME to Haunted Wirral, a feature series written by world famous psychic researcher, Tom Slemen for the Globe.

In this latest tale, Tom explores the spooky of Mr Sweets - Birkenhead's Bogeyman.

ONE foggy afternoon in January 1957, two boys – Richie Campbell and David Lloyd - both aged 11 - had their noses pressed against the window of a highly popular toy shop on Grange Road West called Birkenhead Model Supplies.

This toy store had an elaborate train set in the window and the model die-cast locomotives could be set in motion by placing a penny in a slot outside the shop window.

There were two trains with lit-up coaches on the same track, and they could be manipulated by remote control whistles.

This was the "Trix Twin Table Railway" – a highly desirable gift to many a young child and Richie Campbell just wished he possessed a penny to put in the slot so he could operate the trains.

His best friend David Lloyd had a penny but intended to get some sweets with it.

"Would you like a penny my boy?" said an almost musical voice behind the two lads, and they turned to see a smiling man in a trilby and trench coat standing there.

Richie nodded vigorously at the man, and the stranger said: "I'll give you the penny on one condition; you must show me the way to Clayton Street.

"Yes - Clayton Street is just across the road," Richie replied, looking at the man's gloved hand open up to reveal a shiny new penny.

David thought there was something strange about the man in the trilby; the boy thought the man had some type of mask on and he said to his close friend "You shouldn't accept money off strangers, Richie."

"Oh come now, I'm no stranger!" laughed the man and Richie picked the penny out of his gloved palm and rushed to the slot machine.

The unknown man watched Richie with his eyes all aglow, operating the trains for a few minutes, and then he said to the boy, ‘Come on, show me Clayton Street.’

David followed the stranger, who chatted to Richie as they all crossed Grange Road West in the thick fog, and suddenly, upon turning the corner seconds after Richie and the man had turned it, David Lloyd saw that his friend and the eerie man had vanished.

David ran to Richie Campbell's home on Craven Street and told his friend’s parents what had happened. Mr Campbell went to Clayton Street, and there, staggering along through the fog with blood trickling from his nose, was a very disoriented Richie.

He had no memory of where he had been, and had not been physically harmed, but he then started to suffer terrible nightmares when he went to bed which became so terrifying, he was sent to a psychiatrist.

Richie's horrifying dreams always featured the stranger showing him young men and women hanging from meat-hooks in some long grey hall.

In the nightmares, the man in the trilby would take off a rubber mask to reveal the face of a skull with glowing red eyes and enormous pointed teeth.

The entity would then always say "I come and I go when I like into your world, and no one can stop me. I hunt people by day and by night for their delicious flesh!"

The nightmares went on for a few months and were put down to some psychiatric condition, but years later in 1964, when Richie was eighteen, he heard rumours about "Mr Sweets" – a creepy figure in a trilby and trench coat who inveigled children to go off with him by offering them sweets or money - and they were then found dead or demented.

Mr Sweets was dismissed as a bogey man, a mere urban legend, but Richie went cold when he heard how many of the encounters with Mr Sweets allegedly took place on Grange Road West.

Furthermore, when I mentioned Mr Sweets on the Billy Butler Show on Radio Merseyside one day during my slot about the paranormal, I received many emails, telephone calls to the radio station and several letters from listeners – including quite a few people who had either been abducted by the entity in the trilby or had seen him.

In 1969, Gus, an amateur boxer going to the master tailor Beno Dorn at his shop on Grange Road West to get fitted for a 24-guinea suit saw two screaming children being chased by a man in a trilby and long trench coat.

One of the children tripped over and his pursuer stooped and dragged him off by the collar of his shirt - towards Clayton Street.

The distressed child screamed to the pugilist "He’s going to kill me!"

Gus challenged the man dragging the child down Clayton Street and the stranger released the boy and ran off.

Gus then saw this man vanish before his eyes and believed the would-be child abductor was a ghost.

The child Gus had rescued said he had taken a bag of sweets off the man in return for agreeing to show him where Clayton Street was.

The most intriguing account of an encounter with Mr Sweets is alleged to have happened in 1955 at a sweet shop on the corner of Adelphi Street and Marion Street, about half a mile from Grange Road West.

One foggy evening in November 1955, the sinister trilby-wearing child-snatcher was seen loitering outside the corner sweet shop by a gang of children.

A few of the kids knew he was some sort of bogeyman and they fired their catapults and hurled bricks at Mr Sweets and one brick dislodged his rubber mask, revealing his real ghastly face.

The figure vanished – but could he return one day?

* Tom Slemen's books and audiobooks are available from Amazon.