Two teenagers, who plotted to kidnap babies by setting up fake Facebook profiles offering mothers free clothing, have been detained. In what police described as a "unique and challenging case" Codie Farrar, aged 17, and 18-year-old Holly Kelland, were sentenced to a 12-month detention after admitting to charges of conspiring to kidnap three babies.
The teens used the fake Facebook profiles as part of a ruse to get contact details and addresses of mothers. The pair had contacted the mothers using a fake Facebook profile with the name 'Clare Farrant', who offered the women free clothing such as socks to "promote their business" and telling them they were in a chance of winning a £100 raffle of baby clothes.
Farrar, a murder-mystery actress, even tuned up at the house of one woman pretending to be a social worker to attempt to convince her to hand over her baby in September 2015.
She said she needed to take the baby away for a medical check for around 30 minutes. However, after initially handing over her child, the mother became suspicious by the way the girl was incorrectly holding the baby's head and alerted the police. During the investigation, police found the girls had planned to kidnap two other babies – one in Wolverhampton and one in Huddersfield – in the same month.
Police believe Kelland was attempting to pass one of the babies off as her own after lying about being pregnant as part of an undiagnosed mental illness, going as far a purchasing a fake sonogram in order to convince her mother.
Farrar, who is from Evesham, and Kelland, from Wellingborough, pleaded guilty to the charges at Derby Youth Court on Monday 14 March.
Detective Sergeant Duncan Gouck, of Derbyshire Police, said: "This was a unique and challenging investigation. It was incredibly serious in terms of the potential impact on the victims if the offenders had been successful in their plans to take a baby.
"My team were highly motivated and worked hard to achieve a successful result. As the investigation unfolded, evidence was uncovered that one of the suspects was faking her own pregnancy, which is the strongest clue we have as to the motivation behind this offence.
"The convictions would not have been possible without the assistance of the victims. I am pleased that the offenders have been convicted and hopefully this will help to restore the peace of mind of the victims."
Gouck added: "She [Kelland] had obviously created a story around her pregnancy and that story was maintained over a period of time to family and friends. I can only assume the offences were committed in order for that false reality to continue into the future."