Two teenage girls charged with kidnap over toddler's disappearance from shop


Two teenage girls will appear in court charged with kidnap and other offences after a three-year-old girl was taken from a shop in Newcastle city centre.

The girls, aged 13 and 14, are accused of abducting the toddler from a Primark on Northumberland Street on Wednesday evening.

The child was eventually found nearly three miles away in Gosforth, north Newcastle, by a police officer.

Northumbria Police said they have also charged the girls, who have not been named, with two counts of shoplifting.

The pair will appear at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court on Friday.

Police were alerted to the girl's disappearance at around 5pm on Wednesday, triggering a city-wide search.

The teenagers had allegedly left the store with the toddler, leaving her mother "incredibly" distressed.

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

After searching for more than an hour the girl was found by a police community support officer and reunited with her mother.

The teenagers were arrested in Gosforth Central Park.

Chief Inspector Dave Gould thanked those involved in the response.

He said: "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."

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".

A spokeswoman for Primark said they are "co-operating with the police on the investigation".