Frantic search as boy (5) goes missing in Towneley Park: police praised

Robbie Dixon
Robbie Dixon

A BURNLEY mum has praised police for their quick response after her little boy went missing.

Panic-stricken mum Mrs Sue Plunkett rang 999 after her son, Robbie Dixon (5) disappeared while enjoying an afternoon in the sun at Towneley Park last Sunday.

Mrs Plunkett, a reporter at the Express, said: “It was every parent’s worst nightmare, my little boy just seemed to disappear in an instant and I was frantic.

“I rang the police and they were on the scene in less than three minutes, they were magnificent.”

Robbie, a pupil at St Mary Magdalene’s Primary School, Burnley, went missing for almost half an hour on the way from the hall to the play area at the top of the park.

Mrs Plunkett said: “We were walking from the hall through the gates that lead to the car park and the long path to the play area. Robbie was running in front of me and I watched him go through the gate. When I arrived there seconds later he had disappeared. At first I thought he was hiding but he was nowhere to be seen.”

Mrs Plunkett raced to the play area and searched it with her daughter, Jenny Plunkett, 13, and her pal Amber Squire but Robbie was nowhere to be seen.

Mrs Plunkett added: “We were running around calling his name and asking people if they had seen Robbie but no-one had. He had been missing for 10 minutes then so I rang the police.”

A squad car arrived at the scene and crowds gathered as news spread there was a child missing.

Mrs Plunkett said: “By that stage I was an hysterical wreck, I just wanted to find Robbie, it seemed like he had been missing for so long.”

And luckily, Robbie was found and reunited with his family within minutes of police arriving.

He had wandered off on the path that runs parallel to the golf course and a couple out walking stopped him when they realised he was lost.

Mrs Plunkett said: “The man who found him works at Burnley Police Station so he rang one of the officers on duty who came to the park right away.

“Robbie was driven up to us in the back of a police car with a big smile on his face. He said he wanted to walk down that path to watch the golfers but he said he was sad when he turned round and realised me and Jenny weren’t with him.

“I can’t thank enough the people who found Robbie and also the police. They were swift, organised and efficient when I was a gibbering wreck. It was a horrible experience and all sorts of things started to race through my mind.”

After a big hug and a huge telling off for wandering off, the family headed to their home in Lowerhouse, Burnley, to be reunited with relieved dad, AA patrolman Tony Dixon.

Mrs Plunkett added: “I rang Tony from the park and he was at his brother’s house in Manchester so he set off immediately to get to us but before he arrived Robbie had already been found.”