Man arrested after fabricating account of child abduction in Surrey

Police mounted a large response to the original claim

A man who claimed to have seen a young boy being abducted has been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

He told police he had seen the child being taken into a black VW Transporter van in Redhill, Surrey, on Thursday afternoon, and a major investigation was launched.

But despite reviewing hours of CCTV footage, carrying out house-to-house inquiries and checking missing children databases, police found no evidence to back up his claim.

He has since been "re-interviewed at length" about his account, and subsequently arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

A Surrey Police spokesman said: "Officers had no reason to disbelieve the account of the witness and had to act quickly in order to prevent what was suspected to be a risk to the life of a child."

"In the days since, officers have carried out an extensive and thorough investigation into this report which has not brought about any evidence to corroborate it."

The man has since been released on bail.

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Pete Fulton said: "The risk to life and safeguarding children are our first priorities when presented with a report like this which is why we took the course of action we did."

"Time was of the essence, which is why we asked for help from the public and media to find out what happened as soon as we could."

"Reports of this nature are extremely rare and we are the sure the public understand that when information such as this is received we treat it extremely seriously and must do all we can to find out investigate what's happened," he added.