Teenage girls face abduction quiz over toddler's disappearance from shop


Police are continuing to question two teenage girls on suspicion of abducting a three-year-old girl from a city centre shop.

The toddler disappeared from Primark in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, at around 5pm on Wednesday evening.

Northumbria Police said the teenagers and the little girl were "complete strangers".

Her disappearance sparked a city-wide search after officers found she had left the store with the two older girls, leaving her mother "incredibly" distressed.

Police trawled through CCTV from Newcastle City Council, local shops, Newcastle University, bus companies, the Metro and their own cameras in search of the child.

She was eventually found nearly three miles (4.8km) away and more than an hour later in Gosforth, north Newcastle, by a police officer.

The alleged kidnappers, aged 13 and 14, were arrested on suspicion of child abduction and taken for questioning.

A force spokesman said they were still in custody on Thursday morning. He would not comment on any apparent motive for the alleged abduction.

Chief Inspector Dave Gould said: "Thankfully the child was quickly located by officers and then reunited with her mother. This has been an incredibly distressing time for the girl's family and specialist officers are working with and supporting the family.

"We mobilised all available local police resources to make sure the girl was found as quickly as possible and also included assistance from the public, and many of our partner agencies including Newcastle local authority and university as well as staff from retail premises, bus companies, train station and Metro system.

"I would like to thank all of those involved for their help in finding this little girl and helping reunite her with her mother.

"Our inquiries will now continue to establish the circumstances of what happened and speaking to the two teenage girls in custody regarding the incident."

Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North, praised the police and the other organisations involved in quickly finding the girl, saying on Twitter that it was "every parent's nightmare".