Kidnap suspect named

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The Independent Online
Police last night named a man they are hunting in connection with the abduction of the man's stepdaughter and two other teenage girls.

He is Alan Tomkins, 33, in whose black Peugeot saloon, registration number J633 VHB, the three 16-year-olds were last seen in North Devon on Friday night. One of the girls was his stepdaughter Hanna, who lived with him at Greenbank Road, Torrington; the two other girls were Hanna's friends Amy Sands of Pathfields, Torrington, and Laura Hill of St Giles in the Wood, near Torrington.

The alarm was raised on Friday after a teenage male friend of the girls, not named by the police, was ejected from the car at Beam Quarry near Torrington where Mr Tomkins works. "We are treating this as an abduction," said Chief Supt Bob Stone. "We have no reason to doubt he has got them against their will."

He believed the girls could come to some harm, as they had been kept out all night despite appeals to Mr Tomkins to come forward. It was possible that Mr Tomkins was armed with a knife.

He said extensive inquiries had failed to find any trace of the car or occupants despite a wide search by police helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft.

"We are extremely concerned for these girls," said Chief Supt Stone. He said it had been intended that Mr Tomkins, the girls and the 16-year- old boy were to go for a meal in Barnstaple, with the parents' knowledge, after leaving his home at 7.30pm. After a short while, the atmosphere in the vehicle deteriorated "to the point where we have cause for concern" said the officer.

Earlier yesterday police said any sightings of the car should be reported immediately by phoning 999 and warned: "Under no circumstances should the vehicle or occupants be approached."