POLICE chiefs in Hampshire have this afternoon obtained a European arrest warrant for the parents of desperately ill Ashya King.
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said the warrant was obtained on the grounds of neglect but using it would be a last resort.
He said officers "would much prefer for them to come forward voluntarily" as he described how the force was working closely with Spanish police to find the little boy who has now been away from medical teams for more than 48 hours.
He said: "'I can confirm we have obtained a European arrest warrant. What that will do is, when we find Ashya and his family, it will allow us to talk to his parents about what happened.
''Clearly we need to find out what their motive is in taking Ashya.''
Mr Shead said the European arrest warrant was based around ''neglect'' but added: ''That does not necessarily mean they would be charged with that offence.
''It purely gives us the power to arrest and then we'll be able to speak to them.''
Meanwhile Hampshire police's major investigation team believes Ashya's family may have taken steps to be able to feed him.
Assistant chief constable Shead said: "Health experts tell us with the proper medical care Ashya has a good chance of survival, but he must get that professional care.
"The feeding system that Ashya needs and the other associated medical care is complex, and I would appeal to Ashya's family not to think that they are able to administer this care themselves.
"The doctors assure me that proper medical training is required for the level of care that Ashya needs.
"I would also appeal to the medical profession, particularly in Spain, to contact the Spanish authorities if they feel that Ashya's family have presented or made enquiries at medical facilities.
"Please continue to visit the Hampshire police website or Hampshire Constabulary Facebook page and share the appeal and the photos of Ashya, his mum Naghmeh and dad Brett, and the car that they were travelling in when they left Cherbourg.
"We continue to appeal directly to people living in and around Marbella, where we still have reason to believe the family may be heading.
"If you see the vehicle, or if you think you may have seen Brett, Naghmeh, Ashya and the six other children, please call us now on +441962 841534 or dial the European emergency number on 112 as soon as possible."
It comes after police in Spain were seeking the permission the permission of a judge to widen the desperate search to find little Ashya King.
Officers in the Marbella area were due to attend court so they could be sanctioned to mobilise more resources to find the five-year-old boy who is seriously ill following surgery to remove a large brain tumour.
It is understood police cars have been seen outside a property in Marbella.
The youngster is feared to have been without any form of medical help for 48 hours, since his father Brett King, 51, wheeled him out of Southampton General Hospital at 2pm on Thursday.
Within two hours they, along with Ashya’s mum Naghmeh and his six siblings, had boarded a Brittany Ferries sailing to Cherbourg in France.
Leading the cross Europe search to find Ashya before it is too late, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead told the Daily Echo this afternoon that there had been “strong leads” suggesting the family could be in Marbella.
It is also believed they have a holiday home there.
However, he warned that it was vital the search remained as wide and high profile as possible – fearing that the family may have left the area because they want to avoid being found.
He said: “Sightings point to them heading in that direction but we cannot afford to take the risk that they know they have been seen and have therefore turned around and gone somewhere else.
“We cannot ignore other possibilities.
“The police out there are going to a presiding judge in Spain which will allow them to mobilise more resources and extend and coordinate further activity out there, across a bigger area.”
Ast Chf Cons Shead said hospitals right across Europe were today also being contacted and put on alert. Police are also trying to ascertain if Ashya has already been taken to one of them for treatment as his health deteriorates.
He added: “It’s not beyond possibility that Ashya’s parents have heard or read our appeal and have taken him to a hospital somewhere.
“He could even have been admitted under a different name.
“While there is nothing to suggest any of this has happened at the moment, we cannot rule out the fact it might have.
ASt Chf Cons Shead also appealed to British expats living in Marbella as well as holidaymakers in the area to be vigilant and help lead police to Ashya so he can receive the urgent medical help he needs.
In particular he pleaded for people to keep lookout for the family’s van, a grey Hyundai I800 Style CRDI with the reg plate KP60 HWK.
CLICK THESE LINKS FOR MORE COVERAGE ON THE SEARCH FOR ASHYA KING
- Spanish police widen search for Ashya King
- Police believe missing Ashya is in Spain
- Concern for Ashya 'grows by the hour'
- Hunt for missing Ashya taken from hospital