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Mum's warning after child 'snatched' from The Mall Shopping Centre in Maidstone

A mum is warning parents to be vigilant after her child was 'snatched' in a busy shopping centre.

It comes after she visited Santa's Grotto inside the Mall Shopping Centre in Maidstone on Thursday with her son.

The Mall in Maidstone. Picture: John Westhrop
The Mall in Maidstone. Picture: John Westhrop

As they were both admiring the festive decorations, her phone started to ring and she looked away to take it out of her pocket.

In that time, an unknown man reportedly picked up her child and attempted to walk off in the opposite direction.

"I started running behind him shouting but he continued to walk towards the exit", she said in a Facebook post.

"A lady saw my distress and also rushed towards him saying ‘put her baby down’.

"I got hold of my child by the arms with force screaming at the man ‘that’s my baby’. He replied saying ‘I know’.

'My eyes were off of him for not even 5 seconds and he had swiped my baby...' - the mum

"The lady had him by the shoulders and I was telling him to put my child down, he then let go of my child from the waist.

"My eyes were off of him for not even 5 seconds and he had swiped my baby.

"Personally I think his eyes were on him before my eyes were off.

"I am warning people to be careful.

"Ignore the phone and busy shoppers if your children is waddling around in excitement. It is so busy and so dangerous."

Andrew Davy, manager of The Mall in Maidstone. Picture: Gary Browne
Andrew Davy, manager of The Mall in Maidstone. Picture: Gary Browne

Pam Sell, manager of Kikiland, a children's play centre in The Mall, said officers had visited today (Friday).

She said: "The incident did not happen outside our business, but community officers had asked to see our CCTV and we are looking through the footage."

Andrew Davy, general manager at The Mall said: "The safety and security of our guests is of paramount importance to The Mall Maidstone.

"We are investigating this particular incident at the moment in an effort to establish exactly what has occurred.

"We pass all reports that we receive of incidents concerning guest welfare to the relevant authorities to ensure we do all we can to keep our centre a safe community space.

"We would encourage any guest who feels concerned about any matter to report it immediately to our staff or to the police so that we can help."

A police spokesman said: "On Friday December 6, officers received a report of a suspicious incident in The Mall, Maidstone.

"It is alleged that at around 11am on the previous day, a woman had been in the shopping centre when a man she did not know approached her child before leaving the premises on foot.

"He is described as being east Asian in appearance, 5ft 2in tall, of average build and wearing a green coat with a hood up.

"Officers are making enquiries into the incident and are asking anyone with information to contact them on 01622 604 100, quoting reference 46/232727/19."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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