Irish boy targeted by child snatchers in Cyprus holiday resort

The Anastasia resort, where the alleged abduction attempt took place
The Anastasia resort, where the alleged abduction attempt took place

An Irish family is distraught after finding their child had a lucky escape after being targeted by child snatchers in a holiday resort in Cyprus.

Sean Paul McFarlane was sickened to discover that his 7-year-old child Thomas was targeted by the gang who had apparently decided to lure several children away from their parents at the Anastasia Beach Complex.

A fellow tourist spotted the stranger talking to Thomas and another young pal, also aged seven, and asking him what age he was, who he was with and what his name was.

The quick-thinking tourist came to the child’s aid and the man fled outside to a waiting getaway car – which sped away and damaged half a dozen cars in the process.

The child has been fretting about the incident ever since, biting his nails down and afraid to go to the toilet on his own.

“They were trying to abduct the children – there’s no doubt about that,” said Mr McFarlane, from West Belfast.

“We are in a new hotel with security but we just want to come home. We haven’t eaten or slept since.

“We had been out on Tuesday on a boat trip and were back in for our dinner,” he told the Irish Mirror.

“As we were eating we heard people talking about a fella who had been in playing with the kids at the pool. Nobody seemed to think much of it.

“After dinner we came down for the night-time entertainment, shortly after 9pm. The child was about one metre away from us, playing with his wee friend. There was a small ramp right beside us and they were going up and down it.

“We were at the next table. I turned my head for two seconds to get a coke and when I looked back the wee boys were at the side of a wall.

“There was a couple beside us and the young girl said she saw a fella walk in off the street. He had been standing smoking in the entertainment bit.

“The next minute she said ‘that fella is just after going behind the wall there’.

 “Her partner got off his chair and started shouting ‘what are you doing with those kids, are you with those kids?', and the guy was shouting ‘no, no, no’.

“My kid and the other wee lad took advantage of the opportunity and got up and ran. Thomas was shouting ‘daddy, daddy - that man pulled us onto the ground’.”

The furious dad was livid that someone had tried to approach his son in this way, adding: “When I got there another tourist had the guy. He told me ‘that b****** had your son’.

“I asked him why he even touched my son. A crowd then grabbed him and pulled him into the lobby.”

The place was soon swarming with police, but authorities in the area denied there had been an abduction attempt.

However, a 19-year-old Bulgarian man was questioned by officers and his mobile phone was inspected, it has been reported.