A grieving mother was allegedly told by police that she would be arrested if she hugged her dead 11-year-old son.

Melanie Jones, whose son Rhys was shot dead outside a Liverpool pub in 2007, was warned by Merseyside Police against cuddling him, according to a TV producer who has made a series about the hunt for Rhys's killer.

Writer and producer Jeff Pope made the comments in The Times, while discussing his forthcoming show, Little Blue Boy, in an interview with Radio Times.

He claimed that Melanie was told: "If you keep doing that, I'll arrest you," by a police officer as as she tried to hug her son. The officer was concerned about contamination of evidence.

Pope told the magazine he believed the fictional medium could portray the tragic story more powerfully than a documentary.

He said: "If Melanie tells you about that in a documentary, it's very powerful. But to actually see her reaction? You can only do that with drama."

The first of four one-hour episodes of Little Boy Blue will air on ITV on Monday 24 April.

It will follow the search for Rhys's killer, Sean Mercer, a gang member who was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 22 years.

Other members of the Croxteth Crew gang were also sentenced for assisting an offender.

Pope has previously made a TV special about the disappearance of Shannon Matthews, the nine-year-old girl reported missing in Yorkshire in 2008. It later emerged that the girl's mother and her partner had faked her abduction with the intention of later claiming a reward.

Merseyside Police could not be reached for comment by The Times.