British woman accused of snatching baby in Greece

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Greek police have detained a British woman for allegedly stealing a baby in Athens. The woman, who has not been named, allegedly stole the baby from a 16-year-old Romanian girl, after previously attempting to buy it from her, Greek authorities said last night.

The 41-year-old British woman was detained on the western island of Kefalonia on Friday after returning the infant to a local clinic, saying she was unable to take care of it because of psychological problems, police said in a statement. She was not identified because of Greek privacy laws.

The Romanian teenager, believed to be the baby's mother, told police the child had been stolen from her in central Athens on Tuesday while she had been negotiating to sell it for €14,000 (£9,000). The British buyer allegedly snatched the baby without paying.

According to local reports the pair were shopping in a supermarket for food when it is claimed the older woman snatched the infant and ran away.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a British national was arrested in Kefalonia yesterday following the abduction of a minor in Athens." She added that the woman would be appearing before a public prosecutor in Athens tomorrow on a charge relating to the alleged abduction. It was not immediately clear if the Romanian teenager would face charges because she is a minor.

The mother told police she decided to report the alleged abduction because the child's father did not know she had travelled to Greece to sell their baby.

Greece was involved in a high-profile baby-trafficking scandal earlier this year after a number of pregnant Bulgarian women were shipped to the country by a criminal gang waiting for them to give birth.