4 Jul, 2024 @ 11:15
1 min read

British girl and her baby sister are found ‘abandoned in parked car’ in Spain’s Tenerife

Police tend to the young girls abandoned in a car in Tenerife Credit Local police
Police tend to the young girls abandoned in a car in Tenerife. Credit: Local police

THE alarm was raised on June 17, at around 6pm: two young girls had been left locked in a car outside a shopping mall in Los Cristianos, on the Canary Island of Tenerife, with the windows closed and the sun beating down.

It was a Spaniard who lived nearby who noticed the youngsters, who told the Good Samaritan that their father was getting his haircut inside the Centro Comercial Apolo mall. 

After 15 minutes with no sign of the girls’ parents, the woman called the police. 

Officers from the Arona local force arrived and soon determined that there were indeed two young girls in the car, one aged seven and one barely one year old, according to a report in El Digital Sur

Read more: Police in Spain launch rescue mission after suspect who ‘threw glass bottles at nightclub revellers’ in Alicante dives into the sea

Police tend to the young girls abandoned in a car in Tenerife Credit Local police
Police tend to the young girls abandoned in a car in Tenerife. Credit: Local police

Once they had access to the inside of the vehicle, thanks to the seven-year-old unlocking the doors, they found a bag with yoghurts and bottles of juice as well as the documentation of the man they assumed to be their father. 

Copies of the family’s passports showed that they had British nationality, while a rental contract showed that the vehicle had been hired.

The officers were unable to contact the father, so they went to look for him in the nearby mall. 

Once they located the 38-year-old British man, he denied being the father of the girls and also gave the officers a different name and surname to that found on the documentation in the car. 

The officers then had no choice but to hand over the girls to the social services, and alert the public prosecutor for minors to begin the necessary legal procedures.

Further investigation, however, revealed that the 38-year-old British man they had spoken to had lied and that he was indeed the renter of the vehicle.

They were unable to locate him, but in a bizarre twist to the story, a 35-year-old Polish national then presented himself to the officers claiming to be a friend of the other man and saying that he was responsible for the girls. 

The officers were not willing to hand over the children to the Polish man until his identity could be verified, according to a blog post from the local Canaries police. 

Fortunately their mother, a 27-year-old British tourist, then arrived on the scene too, allowing the police to hand over the girls to her care.

The public prosecutor will now investigate the British man for possible offences of abandoning a minor, not just in the vehicle but also when he lied to police about not being their father. 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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