Surrey

Redhill van abduction inquiry: Mountain bike ruled out

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Media captionA mountain bike the child was thought to be tampering with relates to an unconnected individual, says Det Supt Chris Edwards

A bicycle left by the roadside after a suspected abduction attempt in Surrey belongs to an unconnected person, police have said.

A member of the public reported seeing a boy being "taken against his will" into a van in Redhill on Thursday.

Supt Chris Edwards, of Surrey Police, said he was "completely satisfied" with the credibility of the witness.

He said forensics, dogs and the police air service had been mobilised and CCTV footage was being reviewed.

The child is described as white, about 4ft (1.2m) tall, and wearing a red T-shirt and navy blue jeans.

No parent has reported a child matching the description as being missing.

Mr Edwards said: "This is a heartfelt plea to anybody who may have information...if you were at that location and involved in an incident yesterday involving your own child or a child that you're connected to, we would urge you to come forward."

'Distinct' wheel

Police have narrowed down the time the van approached the boy on Redstone Hill, near the railway station, as between 16:25 BST and 16:40.

The owner of a van pictured in a CCTV image and initially circulated by police has been traced and ruled out of the inquiry.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The witness reported seeing the child and the van close to the train station

Mr Edwards said the vehicle police were looking for was a black VW T4 Transporter van with an 02 registration plate.

He said it had three alloy wheels, plus a fourth space-saving wheel which would make it "quite distinct".

Image copyright Surrey Police

Mr Edwards said: "Anyone who knows anybody who has a vehicle that fits the description that was in the area yesterday, or if that was you, then please contact us immediately in order that we can establish the safety of that young child."

Officers initially believed the yellow and silver bike left at the roadside belonged to the boy as he was seen "tampering" with it.

But he said: "We are now confident that the bicycle relates to an unconnected individual."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The bike was found abandoned by a stairwell

A landlord of a pub close to the scene, who did not want to be named, said he moved the bike next to some bins after finding it dumped outside his premises earlier in the week.

He said: "On Wednesday... I moved it to the back of the old arcade where the bins are, assuming someone would pick it up. All the kids play around there.

"Whether that boy had been cycling around on it, I don't know. All I know is it was outside my pub a few days ago."

Mr Edwards said police had received more than 100 calls from members of the public since launching the appeal.

He added: "Interviews are being undertaken in a bid to establish any more significant information and any possible witnesses.

"We have also re-interviewed the original informant and we are confident he is a credible witness."

But he said: "There have still been no reports to Surrey Police or other forces, regionally or nationally, of a missing child matching the description of the child involved...

"As a result of our enquiries so far, nothing has come to light that would indicate a child has come to harm."

Earlier, police said in a statement: "We are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and seriousness as parents would expect us to do."

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