Police respond to Blackpool kidnapping claims made on Facebook

Police have warned people to 'be wary of misinformation' after a report of an attempted child abduction was shared widely online.

Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 12:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th November 2018, 1:39 pm
Reports of a transit van with 'three children tied to chairs' in the back were shared widely online

Blackpool police are investigating reports of 'suspicious activity' in Blackpool relating to a child being approached by a man in a vehicle on St George's Road, off Lytham Road, at some time between 3pm and 3:30pm yesterday.

A Facebook post, which was shared more than 4,000 times, claimed two men in a red transit van with 'three children tied to chairs in the back' had attempted to snatch a child on St James Road as he walked home from school. Police told The Gazette, despite the differing locations, their statement and the Facebook post relate to the same alleged incident.

The post has now been deleted.

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A police spokesman said: "We understand that people are going to be alarmed and concerned and we would like to reassure people that we take all reports like this seriously and it is being thoroughly investigated.

"Officers have been, and will continue to be, in contact with people in the area, and parents are reminded to be vigilant at all times.

"As is sometimes the case when people start to talk about such incidents, stories are confused and added to as they are passed on, without any malicious intent, and after the story has been retold a few times it can become exaggerated.

"It is really important that people report first hand instances of suspicious behaviour and to try and avoid repeating gossip and third hand information.

"People need to be wary of misinformation which is often provided by channels other than police."

Anyone who has any information is asked to call police on 101 quoting log number 794 of November 13.