Warning From South Yorkshire Police After Internet Craze

8 February 2018, 14:58


Police have issued a warning after an 11-year-old boy hid in Sheffield's IKEA store as part of an internet craze.

Social media has seen a recent increase in young people sharing and taking part in the latest internet trend known as the ’24 hour challenge’. The internet challenge encourages members of the public, particularly youngsters, to hide and build forts in large stores and warehouses overnight, before sneaking out the next morning.

Detective Inspector Anna Sedgwick is highlighting the dangers of this and the wider impact taking part can have. She said: 

'To many young people this internet craze may seem like a bit of fun that is impressive on social media, however the risks and harm that could be caused are by no means humorous and could be catastrophic.

'Warehouses and shopping departments contain large quantities of heavy stock and items that could easily fall and crush someone if they are moved incorrectly, or used to build makeshift forts. There is also the potential risk of electrical faults and fires, which could have devastating consequences.

'As well as the safety risk, children often do this without the knowledge of their parents, which could lead to large scale searches or even cause them to be reported as missing. This not only causes fear and worry for parents, friends, family and the local community but can also be a waste of valuable police time, which may be needed to respond to a life or death situation.

'Work is currently ongoing with local schools and community groups, to raise awareness of the dangers of this internet challenge amongst parents and I hope by highlighting the seriousness of the craze, young people will think twice before taking part. As a parent myself, I’d like to appeal to fellow parents to reach out to their children and give a little guidance. A few words of advice could save your youngsters life.'