Schoolgirl's mum speaks out amid manhunt for wannabe child-snatchers

A mum has told of her horror after two men allegedly tried to kidnap her young daughter.

Kylemore Avenue, where the schoolgirl was targeted (Pic: Google)
Kylemore Avenue, where the schoolgirl was targeted (Pic: Google)

Annabelle Adamthwaite-Smith, 12, managed to get away after one of the men – in a minivan – yelled ‘get her in’.

The Hodgson Academy pupil sprinted home and told her parents what had happened, sparking a police manhunt.

Kellie, 42, said: “She was petrified. She will never forget this.”

The youngster was targeted as she was walking from her home in Valentia Road, close to North Shore Golf Club, to the Spar on Bispham Road, where she was planning to buy wrapping paper for a pal’s birthday gift.

She was on Kylemore Avenue, close to a link leading to Bispham Road, when the silver van drove slowly past at around 5.30pm on Sunday.

It pulled over before one of the men yelled at her, police said.

They then shouted at another man, who was stood nearby, to ‘get her in the van’, though Annabelle, who turns 13 later this month, bolted before she was grabbed.

Kellie, a specialist support assistant at a local school, said: “Annabelle came running through the door shaking and in floods of tears.


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“She just threw herself at me. She was very shaken up.”

After hearing the chilling details, the girl’s dad, 42-year-old James, went looking for the van, before driving to Bispham Police Station to report the failed abduction.

Kellie also took to Facebook to warn other parents, with her post being shared more than 600 times.

She said she has been told of a similar van – silver and small in size – approaching young girls in Central Drive, and Talbot Road, while one person has also come forward with a registration.


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Details are understood to have been passed to officers yesterday.

“Annabelle said the men were in their 20s,” Kellie added.

“The passenger had short brown hair and the guy on the street was wearing a black track-suit with orange stripes.

“She thinks it was a genuine attempt, and the police are taking it seriously.


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“It scared her and it has scared us. We did not sleep well that night.

“We will be extra vigilant now, but she did right. She didn’t speak to them, she just ran straight home.”

Kellie said Annabelle will no longer walk to and from Layton railway station, where she catches a train to Poulton and back for school, on her own.

And others, writing on The Gazette’s Facebook page, also said they also plan to take action to protect their own children.


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Debbie Kelly described the men as ‘dirty, sick pigs’, and said: “My 12-year-old walks down this road to the shops. She won’t be walking alone now for a long time.”

And Sarah Vesey wrote: “This is round the corner from me. My kids are never walking to school without me again.

“Thoughts are with this young girl and her family. How terrifying that must have been.”

Officers investigating the attempt have been scouring CCTV footage captured nearby, and have been touring the area looking for a van matching the girl’s description.


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A spokesman for Lancashire Police said efforts to find the men have so far drawn a blank, but said the investigation is ongoing.

Information can be reported by calling 101, quoting log reference number 1143 of September 4.

It can also be reported to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.