Northern Ireland

Police concern for missing baby Sophie

Baby Sophie
Image caption Police across the UK have been alerted to look out for baby Sophie

Police and social services say they are seriously concerned about a baby girl who was not returned to her carers in County Down.

Sophie Anderson, who is 17 months-old and is in care, was visited by her mother Lucy in Banbridge on Monday.

They were supposed to attend a toddlers' group, but did not turn up.

Police said they were worried about her parents' lack of experience in caring for Sophie, who has been the subject of a care order since birth.

Ferry

She has been with her foster parents for more than a year, but had been in regular contact with her birth parents.

Image caption Police believe CCTV footage shows Lucy and Sophie at the ferry terminal

Social workers say the family need support and it is important that she is returned to her foster carers as soon as possible.

CCTV film appears to show them boarding a ferry to Stranraer.

Police say Sophie's mother, Lucy Anderson, 30, did not travel to Scotland under her own name.

Sophie's 22-year-old father Stuart Creaney is believed to have taken an earlier ferry from Belfast.

The PSNI is working with police forces in Britain and the Irish Republic in an attempt to find them.

Detectives have appealed to them to return Sophie to her carers as soon as possible or contact social services, close family or police.

On the day Sophie disappeared, it was arranged that her mother would collect her from a social worker's office and take her on an unsupervised visit to a mothers and toddlers' group, where they could have contact in a more natural environment.

Brian Dornan, Director of Children's Services, said this access arrangement had worked successfully for more than a year.

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