The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)

Cyprus hotel moves to increase security

- STeven dinnie

A Cyprus hotel where a Dundee holidaymak­er said he witnessed an attempted child kidnapping has beefed up security.

A war of words has broken out between Cypriot authoritie­s, who are trying to play down the incident, and Scottish holidaymak­ers and politician­s now demanding that UK police investigat­e the incident at the Anastasia Beach complex in the popular tourist hub of Protaras.

Cypriot police have denied that a child abduction attempt took place, saying a 19-year-old man had been questioned and released following reports of filming children on a mobile phone.

More Brits staying at the resort at the time have come forward, adding to allegation­s originally made by Dundee man Greg Letford that a gang was filming children on mobile phones, talking to them, and attempting to lead them into a vehicle.

Mr Letford said: “There was clearly a detailed plan to abduct these children and it is incredibly lucky that it was stopped.

“Had we not seen what we have, it would be difficult to believe that it had actually taken place.”

Holidaymak­ers, including a Dundee family, stepped in when a group of people apparently tried to snatch several children from the resort.

Members of the group had been moved to another hotel for the rest of their stay by travel agent Thomas Cook, while others grabbed immediate flights home.

Thomas Cook issued new arrivals with a letter telling them “an incident” had occurred and reassured them staff are doing everything to keep children safe.

The stor y has prompted many who were booked in to cancel trips or make special arrangemen­ts to protect their children from what is described as a “criminal gang”.

In a lengthy statement, the High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus in London categorica­lly dismissed the allegation­s of UK tourists.

It said that the claims by British tourists “unfairly tarnished” the good reputation of Cyprus.

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