Four missing children found in Northern Ireland
Four children who went missing from their home in the Republic last Thursday have been found in Co Down.
The children — ranging in age from 12 years old to one year old — and the man in their company were identified in Newcastle and are said to be “safe and well”.
It is understood they were found at Church Hill Holiday Cottages, in Maghera, near Newcastle. They were recognised by the owner of one of the cottages after photographs of the children and Steven Appleton (30) |were published in the national media.
The man contacted the PSNI after suspecting they were the children who were the subject of an international police search and two people were arrested.
A 30-year-old man and a |28-year-old woman are currently assisting police with their inquiries.
There was substantial media coverage across the UK to try and locate the children — Chloe (12), Jessica (10), Jon (5) and Megan (1) — after their mum, Rebecca Eaton, came home from hospital last week after treatment for a minor complaint and found they were gone.
Speaking before the children were located, Ms Eaton said: “I just want my children back. All that I ask for is their safe return.”
Ms Eaton and her children are from England but had moved to Ireland before Christmas.
They moved into a large detached house in Ardee, Co Louth, and the older children are believed to have been attending school nearby.
On Saturday the Garda laun-ched an appeal for public assistance in finding the children.
They issued photographs as well as the registration plate of the car Mr Appleton was believed to be driving.
The search was widened across the border and it was found that £300 had been spent on clothes in Primark in Newry.
Gardai and the PSNI liaised closely on the investigation and they received a call about a |possible sighting. Once it was established the children were in fact those reported missing, the PSNI moved in and two people were arrested.
The Eaton family is originally from the Bognor Regis area of England and moved into the large detached house, Tullykeel Lodge, in December 2010.
It is understood that Steven Appleton had been paying the monthly rent of €2,500 on the house and also rented a second property nearby.
The Garda thanked the UK police forces and Interpol for their help in the investigation.
In a statement, Garda also said: “We wish to extend our thanks to the media for their co-operation and assistance with the appeal — this assistance was invaluable |in bringing this case to its conclusion, and finally we would like |to thank the public for their |assistance.”