Facebook posts claiming that a woman impersonating a nurse has stolen a baby boy from a hospital in the UK are false. The posts, which have been widely shared on social media, variously claim that this incident happened in locations including Gloucester, Chatham, Airdrie, High Wycombe and Halifax.
The posts all feature the same picture of a woman dressed as a nurse carrying a newborn baby, and have similar accompanying text.
One example says: ““Community alert!! This woman impersonated herself as a nurse and stole a 2day old baby boy from a local hospital in Gloucester. She was caught on camera and is on the loose, if anyone sees her please report this to your nearest police station and please share this post so we help the 27year old first-time mother in reuniting with her son!”
The image in the post appears to come from CCTV of an incident in which a baby was allegedly stolen by a woman dressed as a nurse from a hospital ward at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Centre in Cebu City in the Philippines in January 2016.
According to local newspaper reports, a woman was arrested less than 36 hours later and the child reunited with its parents. The woman was subsequently released after the parents reportedly asked prosecutors not to pursue the case, according to a report in August 2016.
One version of the recent posts we’ve seen on Facebook claimed the baby had been taken from a hospital in Winchester. As Hampshire Live reported, the local Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has responded with its own social media post, saying: "You may have seen a recent post on a Facebook group about a baby being stolen from one of our hospitals. Please be assured that this is a complete fabrication and is inaccurate. If you see this post anywhere, please report it to the group administrators."
The Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also released a statement denying a report on social media that a baby had been abducted from Gloucester Royal Hospital, according to a report on Gloucestershire Live.
Facebook posts making false claims about the same image have also appeared in various states across the USA.