'No reports' to police after latest Doncaster baby 'kidnap' post goes viral

Police have said they have received no reports after another post about baby kidnapping went viral in Doncaster.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 10:26 am

A post was widely circulated on social media yesterday saying that a man had attempted to abduct a child in its pram at the Wheatley Centre shopping park on Wheatley Hall Road.

But South Yorkshire Police have said they have received no reports about the incident – and it comes after chiefs warned last week about fake and misleading posts circulating on social media.

There have been a number of posts on Facebook in Doncaster in recent weeks about alleged child abduction attempts.

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Police say they were not called to the Wheatley Centre and received no reports yesterday.

However, police have described posts as ‘unreliable’ and ‘misinformed.’

The latest post, which has now been deleted, read: “Please keep your little ones safe when out and about.

"Me and my daughter saw a man trying to run off with a pram and baby earlier at Wheatley Hall shopping centre near Boots. Luckily three men got the pram and baby off him.”

There have been unconfimed reports that the incident was actually linked to shoplifting and not an attempted child abduction.

Police in Doncaster say they received no reports of any incidents in Wheatley Hall Road or at the shopping centre yesterday.

Last week, a senior Doncaster police chief warned members of the public not to believe social media posts as he moved to quell fears.

Inspector Mark Payling said that posts on social media were ‘unreliable’ and has urged people to get in touch with details of crimes, rather than believe posts on Facebook.

And addressing concerns over a number of recent ‘abduction’ attempts he said: “I cannot believe people actually believe there have been numerous attempted kidnappings.”

In a live question and answer session, he said: “Social media is well known to be unreliable when it comes to the accurate reporting of incidents.

"We do not trawl Facebook sites in an effort to identify alleged crimes but expect people to contact us.”

Insp Payling said that people were “somewhat misinformed” about the current situation in the town centre and added: “We are investigating one incident which was reported two days after it actually happened this but was not an attempted kidnapping.

“It seems people believe everything they read on social media. We can only go on the reports we receive and not what people post on Facebook.”

Last week, police said they were investigating after a man was reported to have grabbed the handle of a woman’s pram in Baxter Gate in Doncaster town centre.

And in a separate incident, police were probing allegations that a group of men followed a mum in Doncaster’s Primark store and reportedly told her they would offer a ‘good price’ for her daughter.

Anyone with information about any incidents in Doncaster or across South Yorkshire, should contact 999 in an emergency or 101 for the force’s non emergency number.

Alternatively, details can be left in confidence with independent charity Crime Stoppers by calling its UK hotline reporting number on 0800 555 111.