Two British boys at the centre of a family court case have gone missing, lawyers say.
According to the Press Association, social services officials think that Charlie Clift, five, and Kaiton Warnes, two, are in the north of Cyprus with their mother Amelia Warnes, 23.
A judge who has been analysing the case at private family court hearings in London has given permission for lawyers to reveal the boys’ identities in the hope that publicity will help find them.
Sir Gavyn Arthur says he has “grave concern” for the youngsters’ welfare.
Lawyers have released detail of the case in a statement – approved by the judge at a hearing in London.
They said social services bosses at East Sussex County Council had launched family court proceedings and judges were likely to be asked to make decisions about the boys’ futures.
Both boys were the subject of child protection plans and both were wards of court, lawyers said.
Lawyers say the boys are thought to be in Cyprus with their mother and her partner – Kaiton’s father – Jason Warnes, 26, of St Leonards.
They said the family was thought to have stayed in Lapithos (Lapta), – and Warnes was thought to have been working in the hotel industry.
Charlie’s father – carpenter Dominic Burt, 25, also of St Leonards – had not seen his son for months, lawyers said.
Burt – who has told lawyers how Charlie loves “dressing up in Spider-Man and Batman outfits” and “eating cheese” – had provided a photograph of the boys in the hope that they would be spotted by members of the public.
Lawyers urged anyone who thought that they might have seen the boys or their mother and Warnes to raise the alarm.
Sir Gavyn has ordered the boys’ mother and Warnes to return the youngsters and said at the hearing: “There is evidence before the court which causes the court grave concern.”
Detail was released in a statement compiled by lawyers representing East Sussex council and Burt.
“His Honour Judge Sir Gavyn Arthur has made an order permitting the identification of the two boys,” said the statement.
“Both boys have been made wards of the High Court after both were removed from the UK whilst on child protection plans and the subjects of on-going family court proceedings brought by East Sussex County Council.”
They said the boys’ mother’s last-known address in the UK was in Ceylon Place, Eastbourne, while Warnes had lived in Field Way.
Lawyers said Charlie had been “abducted”.
“Both boys are believed now to be residing in North Cyprus,” said the statement.
“His Honour Judge Sir Gavyn Arthur has asked for the assistance of the public in looking for these two young boys as there are serious concerns for their safety and welfare.”
Lawyers said the family was thought to have lived at: “Daire 5, Haluk Sonmez, Sitsi, Seyhan Apartment, Kilic Aslan Sokak, Lapta, North Cyprus.”
The statement added: “If anyone has any information as to the whereabouts of these children please contact Alison Newbold, Solicitor at East Sussex County Council ([email protected]).”
A council spokeswoman said anyone with information could also contact Sussex Police.
Lawyers said Charlie had been at centre of a criminal trial earlier this year.
They said in March Charlie’s maternal grandparents, Jon and Lita Clift – also of St Leonards – had been convicted of “conspiracy to abduct” him by a jury at Lewes Crown Court.
A judge had given both suspended prison sentences. (PA)