Missing boys found safe

CELIA WIGG Two young boys sparked a major police search when they went missing from a Norfolk holiday camp for more than six hours.

CELIA WIGG

Two young boys sparked a major police search when they went missing from a Norfolk holiday camp for more than six hours.

The boys - aged 11and nine - were staying at the Thorpe Woodlands Camp Site at Shadwell, which is situated in dense woodland on Forestry Commission land near Thetford, a short distance from the main A1066 Diss road.

The alarm had been raised at 6am when the youngsters could not be found. Their disappearance was described as “out of character”, and a media alert was put out by detectives who issued descriptions of the missing children, and appealed for the public's help to trace them.

About 20 police were drafted to the scene, together with a expert police advisers, while lowland rescue teams were on standby.

A police helicopter was also scrambled, as the hunt widened out and intensified, and was on its way to Shadwell when news came through, shortly after 12.10pm, that the younger boy had been found in woodland a short distance away by officers carrying out an area search.

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The other boy, who is believed to have been carrying a backpack, was located nearby 40 minute later. Both were unharmed.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Firm, who led the operation, said: “The boys have turned up and both are safe and well, and we would like to thank everyone who has helped us to reach this conclusion. We just need to speak to them to make sure they are okay.

The boys were found about three-quarters-of-a-mile from the caravan where they had been spending their holiday, having arrived a few days ago.

Although still together, they were not in exactly the same location and were found by different search teams.

The campsite is owned by the Forestry Commission and the caravans are situated in a clearing surrounded by woodland which can be accessed by grassy tracks known as “rides”. Because of the nature of the terrain, visibility is restricted by the thick undergrowth, adding to the difficulty for the searchers who included uniformed and plain clothed officers, and a police dog unit.

Det Chief Insp Firm said both boys came from Suffolk and had been reunited with their family. He was unable to say what had prompted the children to leave the holiday camp on their own, but said officers would be talking to them about their time away from the campsite.

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