Maths teacher Jeremy Forrest who has run away to France with schoolgirl Megan Stammers will not be arrested, French prosecutors have told Sky News.
According to the broadcaster, authorities in France do not consider the situation a criminal investiagion, but rather a missing persons inquiry.
The age of consent in France is 15, meaning that Forrest is a "not a criminal suspect" reported Sky News. She will be treated as a missing person, unless her parents file a kidnapping claim.
In the images the two are seen holding hands
Prosecutor Jean-Philippe Joubert has raised concerns over whether enough is being done to find the couple after he told the Mail Online that Megan and Forrest would only be stopped if "they are spotted during an identity check on the road, or if someone recognises them from photos."
British police have said they are working with Interpol, the French Missing Persons Bureau and other law enforcement agencies in Europe to trace Megan, 15, and 30-year-old Forrest.
However Interpol is unable to confirm that it was working on the case of the missing schoolgirl from Eastbourne in East Sussex.
Neither she nor Mr Forrest has a profile on the crime agency's website, www.interpol.int, under its "yellow notices" section which "help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves".
Mr Forrest is also not listed on the website under its "red notices", profiles used "to seek the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action".
Former Interpol officer Ismail Seck told the BBC: "Usually in cases like this the first week is very critical.
"I understand tomorrow is a week since them (going) missing was reported so we are getting into a critical state now."
The reports came as the father of the maths teacher said he was worried his son my "may flip".
Jeremy Forrest, performing under the name "Jeremy Ayre"
“I am worried about Jeremy; I am not worried about Megan," Jim Forrest told The Daily Telegraph. "I can tell you my son is one of the most gentle, caring people you will ever meet. I worry for him more than Megan in case he flips.”
Megan Stammers' mother, Tracy Stammers, 41, meanwhile, has voiced fears over Jeremy's behaviour.
She said: "I don't want to frighten him so he does something stupid. We want her back, our lives back. We are empty and just miss her."
Megan Stammers mother and stepfather made an emotional appeal for the teenager to come home
Megan, 15, and 30-year-old Jeremy Forrest have sparked a pan-European search, prompting frantic appeals by her family in Eastbourne, East Sussex, to make contact.
Police said that although they entered France, it was possible they were elsewhere as they renewed their plea to the public to come forward with sightings.
"We are releasing this photo to show Megan and Jeremy's appearance at the time they travelled to France as we believe it will improve the public's ability to recognise the pair together," Sussex police's chief inspector Jason Tingley said on Monday.
A picture tweeted by Martin Stammers in a bid to find his missing stepdaughter
"Although they entered France, it is possible that they are elsewhere now. Therefore our objectives are to identify where they are and for them to contact us, so we can bring Megan home safely."
It came after it emerged friend of missing 15-year-old Stammers allegedly warned school staff about her relationship with her married maths teacher, seven months before the two ran away to France, after they were seen holding hands on a school trip.
Stammers was apparently spied hand-in-hand with Forrest on the plane home from a five-day-visit to Los Angeles with the school.
ITV News reported tonight that Forrest was due to be suspended by the school the day before he and Megan fled to France.
The programme said that the school had referred their concerns to Sussex Police, whose officers then examined Megan's mobile phone, believing that they might find evidence of an inappropriate relationship, but did not.
The school was then advised to suspend Forrest, ITV News added.
Her parents have always denied they had been told anything about the pair's relationship.
A spokesman from East Sussex County Council admitted that the school had been aware of concerns about the teacher's relationship with Megan, but would not confirm for how long.