'Internet stalker' arrested with girl, 12, at airport

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The Independent Online

Police have arrested an internet stalker who tried to abduct a British schoolgirl while she was on a family holiday in the south of France.

The 12-year-old girl, reportedly from Glasgow, was lured from her holiday home and taken to an airport by a Belgian man she had met online.

The Scots girl was found sobbing by airport workers after being abandoned by the 41-year-old when he realised she did not have a passport.

Her abductor, who pretended to be her uncle, was arrested after he boarded a flight to Madrid.

The pair were reported to have chatted on the internet for around four months before he went to meet her in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer and took her to Marseilles Provence airport to board a flight to Spain.

French newspaper reports said the girl met her abductor, who claimed to be 28, on a social networking website.

He abandoned her at the airport when he found she had no passport and boarded a flight to Madrid.

Officers are reported to have boarded the plane shortly before take-off and arrested the man.

The girl had been gone for about three hours, but her parents had not reported her missing by the time she was found.

The family has since returned to the UK.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said they had received reports of the incident which was being investigated by French authorities.

John Carr, from the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, told BBC Radio Scotland: "It is a classic example of why parents need to talk to their children about the importance of not revealing personal information to people over the internet.

"This is the kind of thing that can happen.

"It doesn't happen very often but it is a tragedy when it does.

"It's about talking to your child and keeping open channels of communication so they feel that they can come and talk to you if something untoward does happen."