Two teenage girls hunted after toddler goes missing in city centre
Two teenage girls have been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a three-year-old girl in Newcastle.
The toddler disappeared from a Primark in the city centre at around 5pm on Wednesday evening.
It triggered a city-wide search after officers found she had left the store with two teenage girls she did not know, leaving her mother "incredibly" distressed.
Police trawled through CCTV from Newcastle City Council, local shops, Newcastle University, bus companies, the metro and their own cameras in search of the girl.
She was eventually found nearly three miles away and over an hour later in Gosforth, north Newcastle, by a police officer.
The alleged kidnappers, aged 13 and 14, were arrested on suspicion of child abduction and taken for questioning.
Northumbria Police said the teenagers and the little girl were "complete strangers".
Chief Inspector Dave Gould said: "Thankfully the child was quickly located by officers and then reunited with her mother. This has been an incredibly distressing time for the girl's family and specialist officers are working with and supporting the family.
"We mobilised all available local police resources to make sure the girl was found as quickly as possible and also included assistance from the public, and many of our partner agencies including Newcastle local authority and university as well as staff from retail premises, bus companies, train station and metro system.
"I would like to thank all of those involved for their help in finding this little girl and helping reunite her with her mother.
"Our enquiries will now continue to establish the circumstances of what happened and speaking to the two teenage girls in custody regarding the incident."