Teen arrested in Bristol over Croydon child abductions

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Bilal, Mohammed Ebrar and Mohammed Yaseen Safi are said to have been taken from their foster home

A teenager from Bristol has been arrested in connection with a search for a father accused of abducting three young boys in south London.

The Met Police launched an appeal seven days after the boys, aged six, five and three, were reported missing.

The 17-year-old was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

He is the 14th person to be arrested on suspicion of being involved in the abduction of the Safi brothers - and the first outside of London.

Det Supt Neil Cochlin said since the urgent appeal to find Mr Safi and the three boys, the Met had received 48 calls.

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Images of Imran Safi have been issued to all ports and airports, the Met has said

"Since the brothers were taken by their father, Imran, we have made a significant number of arrests that started in the Croydon area and then took us to Ilford, east London," Det Supt Cochlin said.

"Following these leads we have now arrested a man in Bristol today.

"I now call on the communities in Bristol to report any possible sightings of the boys or Imran and to call police if they think they have any information that can assist in this investigation."

Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
The vehicle has also been located - although the Met have not yet said where.

All three brothers were playing in the garden while their foster carer was inside the house on Coulsdon Road when they were taken, detectives said.

The foster carer, who told officers that Safi threatened her with a knife, did not suffer any serious physical injuries but was "understandably distressed".

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