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Warning to children over 24-hour Ikea 'hiding challenge' 

A boy, 11, sparked a police hunt after spending a night in a store as part of a web challenge.

Kaden Mirza spent the night in Ikea as part of the internet 'vanish' challenge.
Kaden Mirza spent the night in Ikea as part of the internet 'vanish' challenge. SWNS

An 11-year-old boy sparked a police hunt after he spent a night hiding in an Ikea store as part of an internet challenge which encourages children to 'vanish' for 24 hours.

Kaden Mirza's father reported his son missing after he failed to return home from school on 6 February.

However, the youngster was found the following morning after apparently taking part in an internet challenge called: "Stay Inside IKEA Overnight and Not Be Discovered."

The 11-year-old told police he had been duped into taking part in a dangerous new craze which is sweeping the nation.

The game invites children to hide in popular stores, sneaking in just before closing time and avoiding security to spend the night while filming it all and posting it online.

Abid Mirza says he was racked with anxiety when his son failed to return home in Sheffield.

Ikea say they are reviewing security measures to prevent the challenge being carried out again.
Ikea say they are reviewing security measures to prevent the challenge being carried out again. PA

Abid, from Nether Edge in Sheffield, South Yorks, said: "We have been through a very rough time in the last 24 hours. I hope no parents go through this.

"I just don't have the words to describe what to say.

"We as a family are very grateful to everyone who helped out in any way, we have been through very, very hard time.

Abid has now turned to Facebook to issue a warning to parents about the new craze.

"I am in contact with the teacher and trying to speak to other people where we can come up with something which will help other parents to check up and keep an eye on their children," he added.

"Look at their phones, tablets, anything they've got and go through their history to see anything that's not normal," he said.

Following the incident at its store, Sheffield IKEA has stressed that it will be looking at measures to prevent it from happening again.

South Yorkshire Police has highlighted the dangers of '24 hour challenges' and the implications they can have following the incident in Sheffield.

Detective Inspector Anna Sedgwick of South Yorkshire Police said the risks and harm that could be caused are "by no means humorous and could be catastrophic".

She added: "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.

"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."

She added the force is working with schools to raise awareness of the "craze".

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