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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 27 January 2021
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Updated: Woman arrested after search for ‘missing baby’ called off

The 37-year-old woman is being held in Belfast on suspicion of wasting police time.

Image: Belfast Coastguard

Updated, 21.33

A WOMAN HAS been arrested on suspicion of wasting police time after a major search and rescue operation was called off in Belfast Lough.

The search – which started yesterday evening after it was believed a young baby and its mother went overboard from a ferry in Belfast – was stopped earlier today, with the PSNI stating that the report was “incorrect”.

A 37-year-old woman has now been taken into custody and is said to be helping police with their inquiries.

This afternoon, authorities said they could not confirm if a baby was actually missing but were working off the premises of reports to that nature. By 3pm, police in Northern Ireland had shut down the search.

They said that “following the extensive operation involving several agencies and volunteers and enquiries to the woman and her family, police now understand the report of a baby going into the water was incorrect”.

They do not believe there was a baby in the woman’s care on the ferry.

The incident began last night as a 37-year-old woman was rescued from the waters of the lough at about 6.30pm. However, a search for a newborn baby continued.

The Belfast News Letter heard from a passenger who cast doubts on the initial reports that a baby who was only a few days old fell in with its mother.

He said there was a pram but he did not see a baby in the water.

Police enquiries are continuing.

- Additional reporting by Michael Freeman

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