Child ‘abducted from Brighton shopping centre’ as helicopter scrambled

A child has reportedly been ‘abducted’ from a Brighton shopping centre.

Police confirmed they have launched an investigation after reports a child aged between three and five may have been "picked up by a man" who walked off with her.

A search helicopter has also been scrambled to the scene to join in the search around the Churchill Square Centre.

Reports on social media suggest the child was wearing a pink jacket and jeans.

However Sussex Police said there have been no reports of missing children and no trace of a child or possible suspect on CCTV.

A spokesman for Sussex police said: "We are dealing with an incident and we are making enquiries."

Shoppers at the mall reported seeing police in the area around 5.30pm today.

Reports of vehicles being searched as they left the car park are as yet unconfirmed.

An alert was sent to more than 400 taxi drivers at 4pm that a man aged 70 to 75 may be involved and for drivers to call 999 with any information, according to the Argus.

A spokesman from Streamline Taxis told the paper: "We received a message from police at 5.15pm about an abduction of a girl at Churchill Square.

"We were asked to put the message to our drivers. We haven’t heard any more updates yet."

A Sussex Police spokesman told Mirror Online: "Police are investigating a report of a possible child abduction outside Churchill Square, Brighton, between 3.30pm and 3.45pm on Monday.

"However there has been no reports of missing children and no trace of the possible suspect and the child on CCTV cameras.

"Officers have made a wide search of the area and the police helicopter is also searching, after we received a report that a man may have picked up a small child and walked off.

"Enquiries are also being made to establish whether the child was actually with their parents.

"Anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously at that time outside Churchill Square and Western Road area or has any information about this is asked to contact police by ringing 999 quoting serial 903 of 03/11."

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