Detectives are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of three young children believed to have been abducted at knifepoint by their father.
Officers are also hunting for a new man in connection with the incident, while their search for Imran Safi, 26, and his sons Bilal, six, Mohammed Ebrar, five, and Mohammed Yaseen, three, continues.
Safi is believed to have snatched the children from the garden of an address in Coulsdon, south London, while their carer was inside, at 6pm on August 20.
None of them have been seen since.
In the investigation’s latest development, the Metropolitan Police have released an image of a bearded man they want to identify.
The man was seen wearing a stripy jumper while sitting in the front passenger seat of a red Nissan Qashqai with registration PK13 WFO shortly after the abduction.
The car was photographed travelling down Malpit Road towards Coulsdon Central in Croydon.
Officers have asked anyone in the area with dashcam footage from August 20 to check it urgently, and anyone who thinks they know the man should call police on 07942599374.
Commander Bas Javid said he may “hold valuable information as to where the children and Imran Safi are.”
He said: “I can’t imagine how distressing this whole situation has been for the three young boys, who have been taken away from their safe environment, and our efforts to locate Imran Safi continues.”
He added detectives believe Safi, an Afghan national with links to Pakistan, has left the UK with the children.
“Our working theory is that they have left via a clandestine route, but to where? We remain unsure, and that is why we need people across the country, and abroad to share this appeal for information,” he said.
“The focus of this operation is returning these innocent children to the UK which is our top priority. We hope that offering this reward will lead to some significant information being passed to us.”
The Metropolitan Police said the total number of arrests related to the case over the past five days now stands at 16.
It is understood that the boys were shortly due to be formally adopted by a new family, which detectives believe could be a motive for the abduction.
An all-ports alert was issued shortly after they were taken and more than 30 calls have been received from the public since Thursday afternoon.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe