Couple arrested on suspicion of trying to snatch premature baby 'visited another hospital days before'

Justin davenport, Hatty Collier
A couple were arrested on suspicion of trying to steal a baby: Jenny Goodall/Daily Mail

Police are probing whether a couple arrested on suspicion of plotting to abduct a premature baby had visited another hospital to enquire about a newborn just days before.

A 31-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman were detained by police after allegedly posing as new parents when they approached staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in Camden on Monday.

Scotland Yard said that officers were now investigating whether a couple matching the same description attended the Royal London Hospital enquiring about a baby on Friday, March 1.

A Met Police spokesman said: “They subsequently left [the hospital]. This information is currently being assessed by officers from Camden CID who are investigating and will form part of ongoing enquiries.”

At Great Ormond Street Hospital on Monday, the pair are said to have claimed that their child had been born at the nearby Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel on March 1 before being transferred

The couple showed staff a photo of ‘their baby’ in an incubator and said they had come to collect their child from the neo-natal unit.

The pair are thought to have aroused suspicions and staff checked with bosses at the Royal London Hospital for premature babies being born on March 1, but found no records and swiftly alerted the police.

Officers arrived at the scene and a man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to abduct a child.

Police are investigating whether the photo the couple showed staff was a printout from the internet.

The couple have now been released on bail on the condition that they should not enter any hospital - unless they are suffering a ‘medical emergency’.

Inspector Paul Clarke, of Camden police, said: “The actions of the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in making all of the necessary checks and the quick response of police in arresting a couple prevented what could have been a very frightening and harrowing incident.”

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital said: ‘Thankfully, this type of incident is exceptionally rare.

‘We are pleased that staff at the hospital acted so swiftly and calmly to ensure the safety of all our patients.’

Great Ormond Street’s neo-natal unit treats critically ill newborn babies and infants who need the highest level of nursing and medical care.

Around 500 babies a year from across the UK are treated on the ward.

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