A LITTLE girl who was thought to have been abducted has been found “safe and sound”. 

A widespread investigation was launched by police yesterday after reports indicated she had been abducted from Churchill Square Shopping Centre. 

CCTV images were released in connection with the investigation.

The man pictured to have been with the three year old has been revealed as her father.

The man came forward after seeing the image being shared on news outlets and social media. 

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Police investigating a report of a possible child abduction in Brighton can confirm that the little girl seen in Western Road at the western entrance to Clarence Square on Monday afternoon was in fact with her father, and she is safe and sound, asleep, at home.

“Officers had made extensive searches and initiated publicity after a report that a man may have picked up a small child and walked off.

“No reports of missing children were received.

“Shortly before midnight on Monday a Brighton man contacted police as a result of news and social media coverage to say that the image released by police of man and child was of him and his three-year-old daughter, who had been reluctant to go home at the time.

“Officers have been to their address and confirmed the information.

“It is clear that the person who first called police in the afternoon had misinterpreted what they saw but was acting in perfectly good faith.

“Our thanks go to all news media and social media users who helped spread the word.”