UK & World News

  • 17 January 2014, 16:35

Missing Boy Mikaeel Kular: Possible Sighting

Police say there has been a possible sighting of missing three-year-old Mikaeel Kular, not far from his Edinburgh home.

Members of the public reported seeing a boy at West Pilton Gardens at around 8.30am yesterday and although the timing of the sighting has been confirmed by CCTV images, these cannot confirm the identity of the child.

Hundreds of police officers from across the UK have joined the search for Mikaeel, who vanished after he was put to bed by his mother at around 9pm on Wednesday.

:: Live Updates: Search For Missing Mikaeel Kular

Lines of volunteers have swept the local area, searching for clues about his disappearance, while a hotline dedicated to finding the youngster has received around 150 calls so far.

Police Scotland said they were "grateful" for people's help but asked volunteers to "rest up" and join a fresh search tomorrow morning.

At an earlier news conference, Superintendent Liz McAnishsaid a boy had been seeing running towards the junction with West PiltonPark by people in a car.

"They noticed him because he was small in build and alone at the time," she said.

She went on to say that although the boy matched the description of Mikaeel, he was wearing a cap or hat at the time of the sighting.

The missing youngster does not like wearing headgear and no such items of clothing have been reported missing from his home.

Supt McAnishsaid: "We would ask anyone who also saw this child to contact us as a matter of urgency. We need to confirm if this was Mikaeel or if it was another child.

"If it is your child who was out at this time and in this location, we want to hear from you so we can eliminate this line of inquiry as swiftly as possible."

She said she remained "optimistic" about finding Mikaeel but warned: "As time passes, we become deeply concerned."

Sky News correspondent Gerard Tubb said a friend of Mikaeel's mother had described her as a "fantastic mum" who would do anything for her children.

Supt McAnishsaid all of the boy's family, including his father, have been helpful to the police, adding: "No-one is detained, no-one is a suspect and we have no evidence of any criminality."

Some investigators have said it would have been "practically impossible" for Mikaeel to have left the house alone and suspect a professional abduction.

A police helicopter, sniffer dogs andcoastguard and lifeboat teams have been searching the area surrounding the flat he shares with four siblings in Ferry Gait Crescent.

Forensic teams are examining a second address in a block of flats near his home and officers have urged neighbours to check gardens, sheds, parks and lock-ups.

Overnight temperatures in Edinburgh dropped to around 3C, raising fears for Mikaeel'swell-being.

David Cowin, a volunteer who joined thesearch, said: "At times like this you just want to help as much as you can."

Police Scotland has activated the Child Rescue Alert system, which is usually reserved for abduction and kidnap cases and supported by all police forces across the UK.

The search remains focused around the Drylaw, Pennywell, Muirhouse and Silverknowes areas of Edinburgh, although other forces are also involved.

Mikaeel, who has two sisters and two brothers, was discovered missing from his bedroom when his mother went to wake him at around 7.15am on Thursday.

He usually sleeps in the same room as his twin sister but was alone on Wednesday night.

His jacket and shoes were missing and police are looking into whether he might have left of his own accord.

Mikaeel is slim, 2ft, of Asian appearance and possibly wearing a thigh-length beige hooded coat.

He may also be wearing black gloves with multi-coloured fingers, dark navy blue jogging bottoms, a grey pyjama top with an embroidered turquoise dinosaur on the chest and brown Clarks shoes.

He has a faded scar on the bridge of his nose and a sore on the left hand side of his mouth.

Anyone with information can call the missing person hotline on 0300 200 0200 or Crimestoppersanonymously on 0800 555 111.

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