Tia Sharp: Police tell of "distressed" family
A MAN may have been driving around attempting to abduct children within days of Tia Sharp going missing.
A press conference held at Scotland Yard tonight (Sunday) heard police cannot "substantiate" the claims a motorist was prowling New Addington – where the 12-year-old was last seen on Friday – in a white vehicle.
However DCI Nick Scola said that it is a line of enquiry and that it could not be ruled out. The internet has been awash with reports that a man was driving around in either a white van or white Vauxhall Corsa, harassing other children within days of Tia going missing. The claims were also touted by residents today who volunteered to search for her.
Tia was last seen leaving her grandmother's house in The Lindens on Friday at midday.
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DCI Scola added a number of sightings of Tia have been reported but that none have been confirmed. He added: "We are particularly keen to hear from anyone in The Lindens area who may have seen Tia after midday on Friday.
"We are currently examining CCTV - at this time we have found no trace of Tia on the footage examined thus far but this is an ongoing process which will take time."
"I was with her family this afternoon and they are very distressed." He said her disappearance is "extremely out of character" as she has never gone missing before. Police said the youngster had no boyfriend and that they are searching her social media profiles to see if she had arranged to meet up with anyone
Tia was wearing designer glasses when she left her grandmother's house and had her hair tied back. She left with no phone or Oyster card and had just £10 in her pocket. Before she left she said she was going to the Whitgift Centre in Croydon to buy shoes. She was also wearing worn leopard-skin leggings, a yellow top and black and pink Nike trainers. She is slim, white and around 4ft 5in.
Police have also contacted her school but say those inquiries have so far proved unfruitful and that there were no apparent problems with her schooling. Tia lives with her mother Natalie, Natalie's partner David, and two brothers in Mitcham. It was not unusual for her to stay at her grandmother's.
More than 20,000 leaflets have been circulated across Croydon over the last two days by volunteers who set up a temporary HQ in Central Parade at the Octagon.
DCI Scola added that social media was another line of enquiry, saying people using the social networking site should post the number for an incident room which has been set up at Sutton Police Station.
Call the incident room on 020 8721 4005, or call charity Missing People on 116 000.