Parents’ anger at police white van man lie claims

Chief Inspector Graeme Kinmond
Chief Inspector Graeme Kinmond

THE parents of two 10-year-old boys painted as liars by Fife police have hit out at the local force.

Last week, the Mail carried a front page story which was based on a press statement sent out by the police concerning a “totally untrue” child abduction claim.

The youngsters told police they had been approached by a man in a white van while out playing – an allegation the police later claimed had been “false” and said the boys had since “admitted to having made the whole thing up.”

After publication in last week’s Mail, we spoke with mothers Michelle Brown and Cheryl Robb, who complained their sons’ had been publicly misrepresented by the force.

Michelle told the Mail that both boys had admitted to lying about where they had been playing when they were approached by the van, as they knew they were in an area they were forbidden to go to by their parents.

However, the boys maintained they had definitely been approached by a man in a van, before running off and telling officers that during an interview.

This, argued both parents, was not reflected in the wording of the police statement.

Cheryl told the Mail: “They knew they shouldn’t have been playing where they were and when my son tried to tell me something different, I knew he was lying straight away.

“But then they’ve both tried to do the responsible thing by telling the police what had happened, but they didn’t seem interested.

“I know when my boy is lying and he was not making this up, but he almost had to shout at the police to try to get them to listen.

“My boy hasn’t been at school since because he’s been bullied and has also been sick because of how nervous he has become about it.

“His friend has as well.”

After the Mail was published, the police later said the boys’ claims had been investigated and confirmed there was absolutely no criminal intent apparent or danger to the public.

Once the issue had started to be discussed on social media sites, a further two reports of a similar nature were also made to officers.

Again, the police checked these out and, again, there was absolutely no criminality suggested.

The area’s chief inspector, Graeme Kinmond, said that, during the interview procedure, “a lot of the details” changed from the boys’ stories.

He said claims over attempted child abductions were always taken very seriously by the force and a lot of police time had been taken up over the weekend with the subsequent false reports.

Chief Inspector Kinmond added: “The wording of the press release was possibly a bit harsh.

“It’s accurate in terms of what we tried to achieve and I’m satisfied that our position is quite strong on that.

“I think the article reads well.

“I’m not disputing the van was there but the locus changed, it was one man they saw, and then two men.

“A lot of the details changed.

“I’m satisfied that we are not looking at a criminal incident.”