Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Mikaeel Kular search: 'Every mother's worst nightmare'

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Media captionThe BBC's James Shaw spoke to local people involved in the search

As hundreds of people gather at the North Neighbourhood Centre in West Pilton Gardens to help in the search for missing Mikaeel Kular, local people have spoken of their fears for the missing three-year-old.

Large sections of Ferry Gait Crescent, where Mikaeel lives, remain cordoned off and police officers are stationed outside several of the modern blocks of flats, including the one containing the family's home.

The windows of the flat have been covered up to protect the family's privacy.

One neighbour Tracy Johnston, 45, said the community was in shock.

"It's pretty horrific," she said. "I've been up since the back of 6am and most of the lights have been on which is unusual.

"I don't think anyone slept very well last night. There are hundreds of people with kids here.

"I used to see the wee boy, he used to come up to the window with all the kids to get a biscuit."

Nicola Hunter, 31, from Muirhouse has two sons aged 11 and five. She is one of those taking part in the search for Mikaeel.

She said: "I am a mum and I just want to try and help. It's every mum's worst nightmare. It's just too close to home, to think that he was out there last night."

Kimberly MacFadyen, 34, from Davidson's Mains, has a five-year-old boy.

"I would be absolutely devastated if it was my wee boy and I would want every person in Edinburgh to stop what they were doing and come to look for him," she said.

"Everyone is pulling together it seems. Everyone is talking about it at school and about what they are trying to do."

'Hoping and praying'

Another woman said she intended to stay with the search for Mikaeel for as long as it took to find him: "You just have to take part in the search," she said.

"It's one of these in-built things. A child has gone missing and you can't stay at home and not do anything.

"For the sake of the family, everybody has to stay positive and hope that the wee boy is going to get found today. It's been really cold overnight and wet so hopefully he's somewhere safe, just wondered off or fallen asleep."

A man, who works for a local charity, said: "We just left our work this morning, just packed our things and came down to help."

A local childminder, who also joined the search team, said: "We just want to find the wee boy safe and well and get him back to his mum.

"The turn-out today just shows how how much folk are hoping and praying that he's fine. Hopefully we're going to find him."

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