Missing Lorna Vickerage Sighted In Leicestershire, Car Discovered Near Melton Mowbray


The search for a 14-year-old girl who is believed to be missing with a convicted fraudster has shifted to Leicestershire following new reported sightings of the pair and the discovery of a car.

Schoolgirl Lorna Vickerage disappeared from her home near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on Monday and is thought to be with family friend John Bush, 35.

South Yorkshire Police said they have recovered a Ford Mondeo the pair are believed to have been using in the village of Sproxton, near Melton Mowbray, and are following up reported sightings in the area.

Police are looking for Lorna Vickerage (L) and 35 year old John Bush

Detectives said the sightings in Sproxton were reported yesterday teatime.

They believe the pair may have travelled to Melton Mowbray train station and they are trying to establish if they got on a train there.

It is believed they were staying in the Sproxton area, a force spokesman said.

The silver Ford Mondeo was recovered at around 6.40pm yesterday and is now being forensically examined.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Robinson, from South Yorkshire Police, said: "We are working closely with colleagues in Leicestershire Police to search for Lorna Vickerage and John Bush.

"We have extended the search from yesterday and have notified British Transport Police."

This morning, Lorna's mother Christine Vickerage took to Facebook to renew her appeal to her daughter.

She posted: "lorna if u read this baby plz come home were all missin u and very worried about u ur not in trouble sweetheart just plz ring me or try to get home i love u wi all my heart mum".

In the early hour of this morning , Ms Vickerage wrote: "i know many people will have gone to bed already but the ones still awake would u pray for me to have my baby girl bk home and safe wi me and my family thanks".

Robinson, who is leading the hunt for the pair, also renewed his appeal this morning.

He said he believes the convicted fraudster will use his skills to hide his identity, location and pretend that Lorna is his daughter.

"We've still had no contact from Lorna or John Bush," he told Daybreak.

"We are doing both covert and overt work to track these people.

"We would appeal to John if you are watching this bulletin, can you please make contact with police, and Lorna you are not in trouble, can you please make contact with the police?"

Bush has been described as a professional and accomplished fraudster and detectives searching for the teenager say they are not clear what his motives are for allegedly taking Lorna.

"John's a family friend, I would probably suggest he has coerced her into going away with him," Mr Robinson added.

"I don't think she is in any immediate danger from John but obviously she is at some sort of risk in terms of being away from her family, being in the company of an older man who might manipulate her."

Lorna was seen at 2.30pm on Monday at Outwood Academy in Adwick wearing her school uniform. She was spotted again on Wednesday morning, officers said.

Police said she and Bush are known to frequent the Askern, Adwick, Woodlands and Highfield areas of north Doncaster.

Robinson described Lorna as "quite vulnerable" and said she was in the care of the local authority and put in foster care on Friday.

He said Bush, who was a family friend for "some time", is a single man with no family who has no history of similar offences, although he does have a fraud conviction.

"What does concern me is he's a liar, he's a fraud, he's a cheat and it's what he's telling Lorna," Mr Robinson added.

He said Bush was believed to be pretending Lorna was his daughter "as a guise" to avoid suspicion.

Bush was described as a "professional fraudster" by a judge who gave him a 14-month prison sentence suspended for two years earlier this year on condition that he does 200 hours of unpaid work.

York Crown Court heard how he committed a range of frauds including persuading garages to give him courtesy cars he never returned and using a holiday cottage without paying.

The judge was told he has a number of convictions for dishonesty. His lawyer said Bush had been homeless at the time of the frauds and had been in a relationship with a drug addict.

Lorna is described as white, slim build, about 5ft 4in, with long straight, thick blonde hair, while Bush is described as white, stocky build with receding dark blond hair.

Lorna's father Darren Griffiths made an appeal on ITV Calendar News saying: "Lorna, if you are watching, just get in touch. We want to know that you're OK and we want to know that you're safe and just come home."

Griffiths said: "She's quite independent. She's usually quite sensible. But, obviously, I don't know exactly what's going off in her head at the minute.

"She's quite mixed up, obviously. There's been a lot going off just lately. I just don't know what she's thinking, to be honest."

Police arrested a 35-year-old man, from Askern, near Doncaster, in connection with the investigation but stressed this was not John Bush. This man remains in custody.