POLICE are investigating claims a young girl was snatched off the street by a masked man before being stuffed into the back of a van last night.
Witnesses reported seeing the girl, aged between 11 and 13, being kidnapped in the terrifying ordeal in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, last night.
Cumbria Police are now investigating the reports, with the van driver claimed to have been wearing a balaclava and possibly having a Scottish accent.
This morning Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Holden said: “We are still treating this report seriously, and remain open minded about what could have happened.
“We are continuing to urge anyone with information to come forward. If this was an innocent interaction and you were involved or are aware, please let us know.
“Similarly, if you believe you saw anything suspicious in the area at the time, or you saw the van or girl described, get in touch.”
He appealed for anyone who might have seen the van to come forward.
The unknown girl is believed to have been in the Middlefield or Mill Bank area of Barrow, on the Ormsgill estate when she was snatched.
Onlookers described the girl as having dark brown hair which was worn down, and was wearing dark jeans and a leather-type jacket.
The van has been described as a dark transit-type vehicle with possible registration including JY1.
There have been no reported missing persons that would fit the description of the victim described in this situation.
Cumbria Police urged that anyone with information contact them urgently on 101 or 999 in an emergency.