Police appeal for 'paedophile' who attempted to 'snatch' girl - only to discover he was an off-duty policeman trying to help

Olivia Rudgard
The incident happened on a road near Bucklebury, Berkshire - TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

A police manhunt for a paedophile who tried to snatch a child from the street ended when the man turned out to be an off-duty police officer who had been trying to help her. 

The unnamed girl and her family were walking along a road near Bucklebury, Berkshire, when the girl was approached by a passing driver, who stopped to offer her help.

Reports suggested she was a considerable distance behind the rest of her family as they walked along the country lane on Sunday. 

The man drove off after seeing the girl's father walking back along the road towards her. 

The incident took place close to the childhood home of the Duchess of Cambridge, where her parents Carole and Michael Middleton still live.

Thames Valley Police began a search for the driver after the father called 999. 

But he turned out to be an off-duty police officer, who had his own children in the car and had showed the girl his warrant card.

At the time of the appeal on Sunday Detective Sergeant Richard Vint said: "We are keeping an open mind in relation to this incident.

"We are appealing to the driver of the baby blue Mazda to come forward to assist us with our inquiries. 

"We are also making inquiries internally and with other forces to trace the driver."

Less than a day later, police cancelled the appeal after being contacted by the Mazda driver, who said he was a serving officer. 

On Monday a spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: "Following an appeal that was issued yesterday regarding an incident in Hermitage on Saturday afternoon, the driver involved has now been confirmed as an off-duty police officer.

"The officer was concerned to see a young child who appeared to be walking alone and offered to drive her back to her family. 

"He had his own children in the car and showed his warrant card, before the girl's father called her back towards the family.

"The girl's family have now been updated. We are no longer appealing for information and the incident has been safely resolved."

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