Search

'Sleepwalking boy' claim played down

PUBLISHED: 09:35 20 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:43 03 July 2010

A YOUNGSTER who sparked a major search after appearing to be sleepwalking towards Gorleston seafront was probably a teenager returning from a night out, police said last night.

A YOUNGSTER who sparked a major search after appearing to be sleepwalking towards Gorleston seafront was probably a teenager returning from a night out, police said last night.

On Thursday night police, coastguard and RAF responded to reports that an 11-year-old boy was spotted wandering around in his pyjamas.

The search, which lasted until Friday morning, cost at least £10,000.

Following extensive door to door police inquiries around the Bridge Street and Marine Parade area of the town, police said the initial reports of the sleepwalking youngster in night clothes appeared to be unfounded.

Jon Dack, police spokesman, said: “It is now believed the sighting of the child was of a teenage boy returning home after a night out.

“It must also be stressed that the Constabulary has not received any reports of a missing child in that area.”

The search started at about 11.25pm and involved police, Gorleston coastguard rescue team and a RAF Sea King helicopter from Wattisham airfield in Suffolk. The helicopter spent two hours circling the area - at a cost of £10,000

Despite the claims of the sleepwalking boy being discounted, Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert at UEA, said as many as one in ten children regularly sleep-walk and can open locks and doors and grab food from fridges in their half awake state. In 2005 a 15-year-old girl was found curled up asleep at the top on a 130ft crane in London.

Dr Stanley said: “It would not be beyond the realms of possibility to believe a boy could have instinctively walked towards the sea and then turned around and gone home and back to bed and never know what had happened. His parents would never realise what he had done.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury