Detectives continue search for girl taken by man while 'crying for mummy' in Leeds but say it could be innocent

Officer have been reviewing CCTV footage from the area.
Officer have been reviewing CCTV footage from the area.

Detectives are continuing search for a young girl who was in a distressed state before being led away by a man near Leeds city centre.

Officers were called at 2.20pm on Sunday to Waterloo Street near the Crown Point retail park in Leeds after a child – aged three or four-years-old – was spotted crying for her mother.

Police say the man carrying the child appears to be a parent or guardian.

Police say the man carrying the child appears to be a parent or guardian.

Police said a man was trying to lead the girl away with him before eventually taking hold of her and walking along Waterloo Street.

But detectives said yesterday that, after reviewing CCTV footage, it appears the man could be a parent or guardian of the child and the circumstances may have an "innocent explanation".

The incident is not being treated as a child abduction.

Detective Inspector Charlotte Hails, of Leeds District CID, said: "We are continuing to carry out enquiries to establish the full circumstances of this incident and are still keen to trace the man and child involved.

"We have been checking CCTV footage which does appear to suggest this has been a parent or guardian with a child known to them. We have not had any reports of any missing children and are not treating this incident as a child abduction.

"We recognise the understandable concern that our necessary appeals for information will have caused, but we would like to reassure people that, as it stands, this does appear to be a set of circumstances that has an innocent explanation.

"That said, we are still very keen to identify and speak to those involved to be fully satisfied about the situation."

The man is described as white, aged in late twenties to early thirties, with dark hair, and was wearing a blue/black three-quarter length coat.

He had a light blue or grey shoulder bag across his body.

The girl is described as being aged three or four-years-old, with blonde hair, and was wearing a pink coat and grey tights.

They left Waterloo Street onto Brewery Place, across the pedestrianised area in front of Jurys Inn and then over Centenary Bridge onto The Calls. 

Anyone with information that can assist in identifying the people involved is asked to contact Leeds District CID via 101, quoting log number 938 of December 4.