Lancashire

Dead baby may have been in Lancashire stream 'for weeks'

A baby found dead in a Lancashire stream may have been there up to a month, police have said.

The child was found by a dog walker in a culvert off Carr Lane, Kirkham, at about 14:00 BST on Saturday.

Lancashire Police said the baby is believed to be a white girl who had not been born prematurely. The child is thought to be up to one month old.

Tests showed the infant had probably been at the bottom of the brook for between two and four weeks.

A post-mortem examination could not determine the cause of death. Further tests are due to be carried out.

The child was wearing a brown fleece jumper, which the police believe was originally blue and white in colour.

Nearby were two towels, one green and the other with a union jack pattern.

Det Supt Neil Esseen, leading the investigation for Lancashire police, said he could not rule out foul play at this stage as the death remained unexplained but it was more likely a case of child abandonment.

'Concern for mother'

He said it was "vital" they found the child's parents and discovered what had happened.

Mr Esseen added: "We could be dealing with a mother with emotional needs who has found herself in tragic circumstances. There must be concern for the physical and emotional health of this woman.

"My message to her or anyone who knows her is that we are not here to judge you but to try and help, so please get in touch with us.

Image caption The baby was wearing a brown fleece jumper (pictured) which the police believe was originally blue and white

"This is one of the cases where the public input is vital.

"We believe from pathological tests that the child has been outside in the open from between two and four weeks."

He said his appeal was nationwide.

John Hough, who has a farm near where the baby's body was found, said it was a "quiet area" and not somewhere you often saw walkers.

"The helicopter was circling around and around, very low," he said.

"We didn't know what they were looking for and then shortly after that two policemen arrived to interview us, wanting to know who lived in the area and who had worked on the farm.

"They didn't tell us at that stage what they were here for. The following day, on the news, we heard a baby had been found."

Anyone with information is being urged to contact police or Crimestoppers anonymously.

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