A MAJOR police search was launched after a schoolgirl ran away from home in Scotland after allegedly striking up an online relationship with a Hartlepool man.
Police were alerted to the missing girl by officers north of the border who had been contacted by the girl’s parents in the early hours of Saturday morning.
She was last seen at around 9am in Inverness on Friday.
It is believed the girl took money from her parents and travelled to Hartlepool by train on Friday rather than going to school.
After extensive searches at various places around Hartlepool, the police helicopter was scrambled at around 1pm on Saturday to help with the search.
The girl was eventually found with a man on a beach at around 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
It is understood the pair struck up a relationship through an online computer game played on an XBox Live and had communicated for nine months.
A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: ”We got a call from police in Inverness at around 1am on Saturday, May 25 over concerns about a missing girl.
“She had not been seen since 9am on Friday morning and there were concerns for her whereabouts.
“After a number of searches, which included the police helicopter, the girl was found with a 21-year-old man on a beach and he was charged later that evening.”
Shaun Clode, 21, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool appeared at Teesside Magistrates Court yesterday accused of grooming and abducting a child and two counts of sexual activity with a child.
Clode was bailed on condition he stays at his home address, does not contact the girl and does not use the internet.
He will appear at Teesside Crown Court on a date to be fixed.