Manchester News: Police release new photo of child thief who dragged 6-year-old girl through woods | United Kingdom | New

Detectives said they believe the girl was taken to the street by a man between Warne Avenue and Hawthorne Road, in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, just after 4pm on Wednesday. She was reunited with her family safely shortly thereafter. According to GMP, she was driven down a path to a football pitch and then taken to a van where she was sexually assaulted before being left in the woods and finding her own way to a nearby park. Police urged parents to be extra vigilant. After posting two photos of a man who allegedly “acted suspiciously in the area at the time of the incident”, the force released a third image.

A 35-year-old man – not the one pictured – was arrested on Wednesday and questioned before being released without further action on Thursday.

Detective Superintendent Richard Hunt, of GMP’s Ashton CID, said: “I would like to commend the victim for her tremendous courage in assisting the officers in our investigation, she is receiving support from specialist officers and partners at this truly hard.

“In-depth investigations are underway with significant resources and I want to reassure the community.

“As a precaution, we have additional police and PCSOs on the move.”

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He added: “At the moment this appears to be an isolated incident, but I will stress again how keen we are to find the person responsible and bring them to justice as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank the public for all their support so far. We have received a large number of calls and a number of names have been given to us, as well as new images, some of which we were able to release today ‘today.”

The first image released by police is shortly after reports of the abduction first came to them, they said.

The second, they added, is about half an hour after the incident, where the man appears to be seen with a jacket tied around his waist on Gainsborough Road hearing The Snipe.

After the incident, the girl ran home and told her parents, who then raised the alarm and contacted police, police said.

Detective Superintendent Hunt told reporters: “She’s been extremely brave. She’s joining the investigation today.

“Obviously it’s a traumatic process, it’s a slow process, and you can understand why we have to take it slowly for her own good, but she was very brave.”

The child and his family receive support from specialized agents.

In a warning to parents, Detective Superintendent Hunt said a man ‘obviously grabbed a child’ and allegedly ‘sexually assaulted’ her.

He continued: “A child was playing in this area and a guy hanging around picked up a child and luckily within minutes we got her back.

“Parents need to consider the circumstances of what I have mentioned, and I would suggest that they need to be extremely vigilant with their children as we move forward as quickly as possible.

“The offender appears to have hung around the area prior to the offense and then worked his way through the paths and streets of the Snipe estate, possibly towards Openshaw.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the police on 0161 856 9262.

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