Elderly fugitives evade mountain manhunt

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The Independent Online

A group of asylum-seekers, including two elderly women, two pregnant women and a small child, have evaded capture by police in Scotland since last Thursday.

A group of asylum-seekers, including two elderly women, two pregnant women and a small child, have evaded capture by police in Scotland since last Thursday.

The hunt for the missing people, thought to be Armenian, was continuing yesterday as teams of police from the Trossachs, north of Glasgow, backed up by two mountain rescue teams, several dogs and a helicopter, searched 40 square kilometres of dense woodland.

Officers have refused to comment on reports that the group, which also includes two other women and a man, has been involved in criminal incidents across Britain. The refugees fled when approached by police last week.

The search was called off overnight and is likely to resume this morning. "We are still searching. The area is very dense woodland and there is very heavy rain," said a police spokeswoman.

"As far as we are aware they are on foot and we are concerned for their safety."

The spokeswoman added that an abandoned car had also been found.

The hunt began after an officer from the Central Scotland force spotted a car at Trossachs Pier at Loch Katrine, 30 miles north of Glasgow, shortly before 2pm last Thursday. It appeared to match the description of a vehicle seennear the scene of a crime in the region. As the officer approached, the silver Volvo, its occupants, a man, six women and a child, drove away.

Police have appealed to people in the area to be alert for the group, adding that they fear for the refugees' safety if they continue to sleep rough on the hills.

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