Help for children is safe as houses

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Parents in the Cardiff suburbs of St Mellons and Llanrumney have been asked to join a new police scheme to provide "safe houses" for children under threat on the streets.

The scheme is a replica of one used in Australia since 1979. It was introduced to the district by a local policeman, Brian Tucker, who lived in Australia for eight years.

The 30 parents so far involved have yellow stickers displayed prominently in their windows. They bear a black triangle and a humanised house, hugging two children. The words "Safety House" are underneath.

"The idea is to signal to children who may be feeling threatened, followed or just even sick," says Gail Lloyd, a nurse with two children who was one of the first to sign up. "I want to treat other children as I hope other parents would treat mine if they were in trouble."

Though crime is not bad in the area, residents were shaken by the discovery of the body of 15-year-old Claire Hood in nearby woods in January. "They haven't caught the person who did it," Ms Lloyd said.

The police are prepared for teething troubles. "We make very sure that no unauthorised person gets hold of a sticker," said PC Tucker.