Thursday 27 July 2017

'Kidnap' boy, 10, rescued from flat bound and wrapped in sheet

John Bingham and Andy Bloxham

A 10-YEAR-OLD boy has been rescued from a flat, tied up and wrapped in a sheet, after apparently being snatched from the street on his way to the shops.



Three men were arrested on suspicion of kidnap after the dramatic rescue in Oldbury, West Midlands, on Sunday.



Police surrounded the building after a passer-by heard a child’s voice screaming, "I’ve been kidnapped," and raised the alarm.



It followed a frantic two-hour search of local streets led by members of the boy’s family.



Last night it was reported that the young boy had been found naked apart from the sheet and tied to a radiator.



Nursery worker Tracey Whiteside, 48, who lives next door to the family, said prior to his rescue the victim's mother had been "absolutely beside herself" and was "screaming and crying" at police officers to "find him, find him".



Police dispelled rumours that the housing association flat, which backs on to a school, was a bail hostel. They refused to comment on whether any of the arrested men were sex offenders or known to officers in another way.The boy was returned to his family unhurt after his ordeal but it is understood that he was checked out at a local hospital.



Relatives raised the alarm at around 9.15am after the boy failed to return from the local shops.



Just over two hours later Jean Masih, 49, was walking down the Bristnall Hall Road when she heard a child’s voice coming from the building.



Mrs Masih, who lives near the boy’s family and knows him, had heard that he was missing and went to investigate, seeing him alone through a ground-floor window.



Police rushed to the scene and were able to lift the boy through a ground-floor window. The occupant was out but police arrested the three men, aged 49, 48 and 30, around five hours later.



She explained: "I went round to see what I could see, people were around everywhere looking.



"I looked up to this window and saw him there wrapped in a sheet.



"He said 'help me, I've been kidnapped', I ran back to get the police and they came and picked him out of the ground floor window."



She added: "His arms looked like they were bound and he had a white sheet wrapped around his body.



"I asked who was in the house and he said 'no one, the man has gone and left me.'



"I told him to wait and I ran to call the police from his parents house. I've been really shaken up by it all."



Last night neighbours said the boy’s parents had immediately packed up and moved away as soon as he was found.



One neighbour who regularly saw the boy and his siblings playing in the street, said: "They were the politest kids, they you never got any back chat if you asked them to go, they just left."



It is understood that when the building where the boy was held was constructed in the 1980s there had been plans to house offenders on bail there.



But it has since changed hands and is running by a private housing association.



A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: "We are working closely with the family and local community and will update them as this high priority investigation continues.



"It's a really early stage of the investigation at the moment, but we don't believe the three men in custody were known to the boy."



Yesterday parents collecting their children from Moat Farm Infant School, which is yards away from the flat, voiced concerns.



Sarah Bowen, 32, said: "You see people you don't know standing around so I could have seen him already."



A neighbour who lives across the road from the flats where the boy was held said one of the residents was seen near the school regularly.



"I've said hello to him but I don't know his name," she said.



"He's always up around the school when the kids are coming out."



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