Megan Stammers: Father of maths teacher appeals for return

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Media captionJim Forrest: "Please, please get in contact"

The father of the maths teacher missing in France with teenager Megan Stammers has appealed for them to return.

"All I'm asking is for one of you to make a call or send an email to let us know you're both safe," said Jim Forrest at a police press conference.

Jeremy Forrest, 30, and the schoolgirl, 15, have not been seen since they travelled to France on 20 September.

Megan's stepfather Martin Stammers later appealed on the BBC's Crimewatch programme for her to make contact.

Earlier, a European arrest warrant was issued for Mr Forrest.

Ch Insp Jason Tingley of Sussex Police said the force was "liaising with all European countries".

'Get in contact'

With his wife Julie by his side, Mr Forrest, from Petts Wood, south-east London, but originally from Scotland, said: "A lot of people back home are desperate to hear from you.

"We are all here for you both and just need to hear from you.

"Please, please get in contact."

Image caption Megan and Jeremy Forrest are thought to be travelling in his black Ford Fiesta

Megan was reported missing at about midday on Friday after she failed to turn up at the Bishop Bell C of E School, in Eastbourne.

The last sighting of the pair was from CCTV cameras on board a ferry from Dover at 21:30 BST last Thursday. It showed them arm-in-arm and hand-in-hand.

Ch Insp Tingley said there had been "rumoured sightings and information" passed to police from countries "throughout Europe".

He said as it had been thought the couple would return to the UK on Sunday, when they had return ferry tickets booked, the process of applying for a European arrest warrant had not been started until Monday and it had been granted on Tuesday.

"It doesn't get done as quickly as we might have liked," Ch Insp Tingley said.

'Child abduction'

He went on: "This has probably not gone the way that Megan or Jeremy expected.

"Jeremy will be aware that he has questions to answer, and making contact with us is the best way he can do this.

"As part of the process of working with the French authorities, we have secured an international letter of request and a European arrest warrant.

"These orders, which have been obtained with the help of the Crown Prosecution Service, enable us to work with the European authorities and are in relation to an offence of child abduction. This means taking Megan without the consent of her parents.

"The full details of this warrant have been circulated to every EU country."

Return voluntarily

He said an officer from the Sussex force had gone to Paris to work with French police searching for the pair.

Image caption Police released a CCTV image of Megan Stammers and Jeremy Forrest taken on board the ferry

Ch Insp Tingley refused to comment on whether Mr Forrest was being investigated before they set off to France.

"That is part of the investigation which I'm not willing to speak about," he said.

"There was clearly a line of inquiry in regards to that and we'll be following that through."

He also said officers had been working very hard with both affected families, including Mr Forrest's wife, and the school, and offering all parties support.

'Ring your mum'

Ch Insp Tingley said the pair had been given "every opportunity" to return to the UK voluntarily.

"That is what we hope will happen," he said.

Speaking on the BBC's Crimewatch programme on Thursday night, Martin Stammers appealed to his stepdaughter: "Megan, if you're seeing this, just pick up the phone, ring your mum.

"Your mum is in pieces darling, just pick up the phone, ring, just so we know you're OK."

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