273 UK kids abducted in a year by STRANGERS

Stranger danger alert as shocking new toll revealed

_Taken_Report

A HORRIFYING picture of the full scale of child abduction by strangers in Britain is revealed in a new shock report.

Last year 273 kids were targeted by predators they did not know who tried to — or did — snatch them.

Abductions by strangers made up nearly half of all the 592 reported snatches involving 675 children in the UK in 2011/12.

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In 22 cases the offender attempted to take a child in front of their parent — including a mum who had to fight off a man trying to take her two-year-old in a supermarket.

A man also tried to grab a toddler while his parents waited for a take-away.

And in a chilling echo of the horrific James Bulger case, four involved an attempt to take a child from a shopping centre.

But most predators tried to grab a child when he or she was alone, walking to school.

Most are “suspected to be sexually motivated”, the report says.

And its author Geoff Newiss warns the number of child abductions in the UK is far worse than his study reveals.

He said: “I believe a large number of attempted abductions go unreported.

“As a parent, I was shocked by our findings but I think the figures we collected are just the tip of the iceberg.

“No single, comprehensive source of data on child abduction exists in the UK.

“I think we really have to re-think the fact that we no longer seem to put out a message about ‘stranger danger’ to our children.”

Last year 247 cases were reported to police of strangers targeting children, involving 273 victims.

Of those, 52 kids were snatched, 203 were attempted abductions and 18 were unable to be verified.

The average age of the victim was 12 and three-quarters and most were girls.

The figures are based on statistics collected from UK police forces for 2011/12.

The report, called Taken — a study of child abductions in the UK, left, was commissioned by the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre and Parents and Abducted Children Together.

It was released to mark International Missing Children’s Day this Saturday.

On that day the charity Missing People will host The Big Tweet where a tweet about a missing child will be sent out every 30 minutes.

The Sun is supporting the Big Tweet by donating £10,000 if 50,000 retweets are reached.

Lady Catherine Meyer, founder of PACT, said: “Many will find the report shocking.

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