New worry for parents of missing girl

Worry: Melissa's parents John and Carol Hughes
Worry: Melissa's parents John and Carol Hughes
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The parents of 16 year old girl who has gone missing for the second time in three weeks, have made a desperate appeal for her to come home.

Melissa Hughes, who has a number of health issues, walked out of her home in Gamull Lane, Ribbleton, on October 29, sparking a countywide police appeal.

Melissa Hughes, 16, missing from home in Ribbleton

Melissa Hughes, 16, missing from home in Ribbleton

On Friday, November 7 she was picked up by police in Blackpool and returned to her family home, but walked out again an hour later.

Now her parents, John and Carol are growing increasingly worried for her welfare, and have raised questions over the response of authorities.

Carol said: “We’re worried sick. When she did come home briefly, she had a very bad chest - it sounded like an infection - and that could end up as pneumonia.”

She added: “The police said she’s high risk but we’ve only had one call this time and no appeal issued in a week.”

The couple have criticised Blackpool police for not referring Melissa to a specialist help unit and for pressurising them to take her home when they felt they couldn’t cope.

John said: “We wanted her admitted to hospital, but the police just wanted to process her and send her home.

“I want social services to do their job too. We can’t handle her and there’s been a catalogue of events, but nobody seems to be really interested.”

Lancashire County Council is unable to comment on individual cases, but it is believed that senior managers are being briefed on the situation on a daily basis. A spokesman said the authority works closely with families, but that at 16, a person is able to live where they choose.

A spokesman for Lancashire Constabulary said there was little else officers could have done other than return a missing person home, but a renewed appeal is being issued.

Melissa is about 5ft tall with blue eyes has a birth mark below her left eye. Call 101.