'Gang of child snatchers' may have targeted Hull Fair
A MAN who tried to abduct a child from Hull Fair has been jailed for more than four years.
Hull's top judge said he believed Daniel Banasik, 28, was part of an organised gang looking to snatch children from the fair, which attracts thousands and thousands of families each year.
Banasik grabbed the five-year-old child while the little boy was clutching his mum's hand.
Honorary Recorder of Hull and the East Riding Judge Michael Mettyear has jailed him for four and a half years.
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He told Banasik: "At Hull Fair last year, on a busy, noisy evening, you attempted to snatch a child. Fortunately, his mother had hold of him.
"It is not possible to say what would have happened to him had the attempted abduction of him been successful.
"But I'm sure the intention was to do him serious harm in one way or another, at least the permanent removal of him from his family.
The boy had been waiting with his mum as his stepdad went to buy him a toy bubble gun from a stall.
Banasik, of Pendrill Street, west Hull, was seen to signal to a friend moments before he tried to grab the child and was working as part of an organised gang.
The boy's stepdad rang the police and, along with about eight members of the public, followed Banasik until officers arrived to arrest him.
A jury at Hull Crown Court convicted him of attempted child abduction.
Judge Mettyear rejected a claim by Banasik's lawyer it was a "drunken, unsophisticated, spur-of-the-moment event."
"On the contrary it was a planned gang action, there is substantial evidence of that," said the judge.
He said Banasik had been spotted looking at a number of children.
"There is clear evidence from a number of sources that, a short time after, you were talking to a man and a woman down an alleyway probably alerting them to the fact that things had not gone as planned. There were toys in your rucksack and I'm satisfied these were to placate a victim if necessary.
"I accept that you had been drinking and that may have led to the mission being clumsily executed but it doesn't indicate that it was unplanned or unsophisticated."
After Banasik was led away to begin his jail sentence, the boy's mum said: "I'm just so pleased justice has been done.
"He is in prison where he belongs – where he can't hurt any children."
A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said: "The police responded extremely quickly to the reported offence at Hull Fair and consequently arrested two suspects within a matter of minutes.
"This type of offence is obviously very alarming but, thankfully, it is also rare.
"The motives of the defendant are not known because he did not admit the offence.
"We take reports of this nature extremely seriously and a thorough investigation was conducted at the time which resulted in the charging of Banasik and his subsequent conviction at court."