Belfast Telegraph

Police investigate attempt to abduct girl from Belfast Disney store

Mother raised alarm after woman attempted to grab child

By Deborah McAleese

Police are investigating reports of the attempted abduction of a child from the Disney store in Belfast city centre.

The young girl was playing in a small castle in the busy shop when a woman attempted to snatch her on Sunday evening, the child's mother told police.

She said that she heard the woman calling to her daughter and then attempting to lift her.

The woman fled the scene when the mother and her friend saw what was happening and grabbed the little girl away.

Police last night confirmed that an investigation into a "suspicious approach" was under way. However, they did not release any details of the incident or a description of the woman.

Officers have begun to study CCTV footage as part of their probe.

The child's mother took to social media site Facebook to warn other parents about the incident.

Her account of the attempted abduction was shared by more than 8,000 people online.

The woman said police had advised her to share what had happened with as many mothers as possible.

South Belfast PSNI area commander, Chief Inspector Robert Murdie, said: "I can confirm that officers are making enquiries following a report of a suspicious approach in a store in Donegall Place in Belfast city centre at the weekend.

"We were made aware of the incident shortly before 7pm on Sunday. A statement has been taken and all potential lines of inquiry will be followed up including a review of any available CCTV."

SDLP councillor Patrick McCarthy said the report was very concerning.

He said: "The Disney store is in one of the main shopping streets in the city and I would be very concerned if there was an attempt to abduct a child from the city centre. It is worrying for all parents.

"Hopefully the police will be able to apprehend this person, because there is CCTV in the city centre and I would be hopeful the police can identify the person responsible.

"I think we all have to be mindful of the threat to young people."

Councillor Bernie Kelly assured parents that these incidents were rare. She added: "I have concern for the family involved and the little girl.

"Parents need to be vigilant and police need to be involved in those incidents, but in our view they wouldn't be very common.

"They are quite rare in our experience and we have regular meetings with the police and Belfast city centre management."

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