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Parents worried by man's sighting

PUBLISHED: 08:43 13 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:27 03 March 2010

RESIDENTS on a housing estate in Newmarket have spoken of their horror at finding out that the missing 10-year-old girls could have been just yards away from their homes.

RESIDENTS on a housing estate in Newmarket have spoken of their horror at finding out that the missing 10-year-old girls could have been just yards away from their homes.

Having followed the story of missing Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, people on the Studlands estate say they had never imagined the girls could have been on their doorsteps.

The latest possible sighting has placed the girls on Studlands Park Avenue, shortly after they went missing from their Soham home last Sunday.

Everyone had sympathised with the plight of the Chapman and Wells families, but once the sinister reality began to dawn that an abductor could have brought the girls into their own back yard, the sympathy turned to fear.

A resident of Studlands Park Avenue said yesterday : "It is very worrying. Children don't just disappear, but they can go in a heartbeat.

"We have never had anything like this around here. It is horrible to think they could have been so near here. I keep my doors locked now."

A neighbour said: "It makes you more aware that no matter what you do something might happen to them. I make sure I know where my children are these days."

Mother-of-two Christine Body, of Tulyar Walk, said: "Everything has changed. There used to be children everywhere but they are all inside.

"Because it is the holidays, there would usually be children outside playing, but there's none about now," said the mother-of-two.

"I used to let my children out, but now I don't. And they are scared too and want to hold my hands when we are out.

"When we used to go into town they would go off in shops by themselves – but not now."

Meanwhile, the stretch of the A142 linking Soham to Newmarket is now the focus of police attention after the possible sighting.

It cuts through a swathe of typical East Anglian countryside, with a wide expanse of flat open corn and wheat fields surrounding this part of the road, close to the normally sleepy town of Soham.

The straight, single-carriage road which leaves the town later twists and turns for several miles with cottages and farmhouses lining the road at infrequent intervals.

On the approach to Newmarket a sign on your left welcomes you to the town some 50 yards ahead of the roundabout where a taxi driver reported seeing a dark green metallic car turn right into Studland Park Avenue.

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