Report of abandoned newborn babies around the country are false

2 September 2022
What was claimed

Police have rescued newborn babies that were abandoned in multiple English towns and cities.

Our verdict

False. The picture in the Facebook post relates to an abandoned baby case from Thailand which took place in 2017.

Facebook posts which claim the same baby has been found abandoned in several separate English towns and cities are false. 

The posts, which were all shared to local community Facebook groups on 29 August, claim that a “newborn baby” was found in the local area by police “this morning” and ask for help to “spread the word” to help identify the “#abandonedbaby”.

The posts are accompanied by two photographs of a very young baby wrapped in a blanket inside a cardboard box. 

The posts variously claim that this baby has been found in Sheffield, Leeds, Ashford in Kent, Kirton in Lincolnshire, and Greater Manchester.

But this is not true. The images of the baby used to illustrate the post originate from a 2017 case in Thailand, where police officers rescued a baby that had been found in a cardboard box. 

South Yorkshire Police, the force responsible for Sheffield, told Full Fact: “This doesn’t link to any incident we’re aware of. We have been made aware of several posts of this nature being circulated recently, by fake accounts.”

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police, the force responsible for Leeds, said he was not aware of any such incident. 

Full Fact can find no other reports in the media or from police in these areas which match the description in the posts. 

Another version of the post shared by the same Facebook account that said the baby had been found in Leeds, claimed a baby was found in Liverpool but used an image taken from a different case in Thailand, when a baby girl was found abandoned by a roadside in Chiang Mai in 2020.  

Full Fact has also written about similar posts as well as others in which different pictures and variations of the wording seen here have been used. In one case, a post claimed that a child had been found in Essex but used a picture of a baby who was found outside a home in Arizona in the United States in July. Another, claiming the baby had been found in Barnsley, used the same image of the Thai child found in a cardboard box in 2017. 

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