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Saturday, August 21, 1999 Published at 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK


'Help! We're going to Bournemouth'

Four children heading for a holiday by the seaside sparked a police operation when they held up a home-made sign telling other motorists they had been kidnapped.

The quartet raised the false alarm because they did not want to go on holiday to the Dorset resort of Bournemouth.

Travellers on the A617 near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, spotted the sign saying "Help us we have been kidnapped. Phone the police" in the back of a Ford people carrier.

Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire police rustled up several patrol cars after one driver, a former soldier, dialled 999 on his mobile phone.

'Serious incident'

The motorist even pursued the car for 15 minutes, flashed his lights and hooted in an attempt to stop the "kidnappers".

The car was eventually pulled over near junction 26 of the M1 in Nottinghamshire.

Sergeant Lee Collison said: "We took this incident very seriously and were desperate to track down the people carrier.

"When officers eventually stopped the car the children said they had written the note because they were unhappy about going on holiday to Bournemouth when many of their friends were going abroad.

"They were told off and sent on their way. What's wrong with Bournemouth anyway?"

The police spared the family further embarrassment by declining to identify them.

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