Great Yarmouth school dispels Facebook child abduction rumours

St Nicholas Priory Junior School, Great Yarmouth.

St Nicholas Priory Junior School, Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

A primary school has moved to dispel child abduction rumours after an innocent incident was misconstrued.

It happened at the school gates of St Nicholas Priory in Great Yarmouth as children finished classes yesterday afternoon.

James Wright, chairman of governors at the school, said concerns were reported to them and after an investigation they established what had happened.

'This was a situation of a parent of one of our children who was helping a younger child who was looking for a missing toy car,' he said. 'The parent was holding the child's hand.'

He said that a mother with children at two schools had picked up her first child from another school in the town before heading to St Nicholas to collect their sibling.

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When outside St Nicholas Priory a well-meaning parent had tried to help the woman's child from another school to find the toy car.

Mr Wright said all safeguarding procedures had been followed, children had left the school for the day and police responded quickly.

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'The child who lost the toy car may have looked slightly upset and the parent offered a hand of friendship to steady them,' he said. 'That was the situation, but it only came to light during today.

'Rumours had gone viral on social media and people came to their own conclusions.'

A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed the force had received reports of an unknown woman holding the hand of a six-year-old boy at the school gates.

'The female was not seen to move toward the gate and the female released the child's hand when the child's brother collected him taking him to his mother,' the spokesman said. 'Officers from Great Yarmouth CID have made enquiries and have identified the female in question who reports being a concerned parent of another child at St Nicholas Priory.

'She had seen the boy upset and not able to find his mother and took the boy a short distance to the playground where he was collected by his brother.

'At no point did the child leave the perimeter of the school grounds.

'Both the school and the mother of the child have been updated.'

The school is distributing a letter to parents today to let them know what happened.

Rumours had swirled around Facebook overnight with a message from a concerned parent, who thought the incident was an attempted child abduction, shared thousands of times.


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