Child-snatchers target British and Irish tourists in Cyprus
PROTARAS, Cyprus - Tourists from the UK and Ireland were forced to flee their hotel after families were targeted by a gang of child-snatchers.
PROTARAS, Cyprus – Tourists from the UK and Ireland were forced to flee their hotel after families were targeted by a gang of child-snatchers.
Holidaymakers have told how three youngsters were just seconds from being abducted at the Anastasia Beach Complex, near Protaras, in Cyprus, on Tuesday night.
Now tour operators Thomas Cook have moved around 120 Irish and British holidaymakers from the hotel amid fears for children’s safety, the Irish Mirror reports.
The kids, all under 10, were being led to a car by a man and woman when a sharp-eyed holidaymaker saw the danger and confronted the couple.
The alleged abductors – believed to be Romanians – were quickly grabbed, frogmarched to the hotel office and handed over to local police.
Dad-of-two Greg Letford, 28, from Dundee said: “This Romanian couple were leading the two young children towards a waiting car, another person had a third child up against a wall ready to go too. Someone saw what they were up to and stopped them.
“If he hadn’t been there those kids would have gone.
“One of the men got away and we heard the getaway car crashed a short distance away too.
“When police turned up they took the man and woman into an office in the hotel and a crowd built up in the foyer – there must have been about 60 or 70 really angry people. It was chaos. The police got them into a van through a window for their protection.”
Holidaymakers – mainly from Scotland and Ireland – were offered a new hotel in nearby Pathos by tour organizers Thomas Cook.
A company spokeswoman confirmed they were treating the incident extremely seriously.
She said: “Thomas Cook has requested an increased and immediate security presence at the hotel.
“The safety and welfare of our customers is always our priority and upon hearing about the incident we immediately deployed our experienced resort team to provide customer support.
“While incidents of this nature are extremely rare, we’d like to reassure all customers this is being taken incredibly seriously and we are continuing to work closely with the local authorities.”