A EUROPEAN arrest warrant has been issued for the parents of missing Portsmouth boy Ashya King.
The five-year-old was being treated in Southampton General Hospital for a brain tumour when his family took him and left the country on a ferry to France.
Interpol has sent out a missing persons alert to each of its 190 member countries.
Speaking outside Hampshire Constabulary’s headquarters, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead 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.’
Mr Shead said the arrest warrant had been issued for Ashya’s parents and not his six siblings who they are travelling with.
‘We don’t want the family to be put off by the fact that there is an arrest warrant,’ he said.
‘We would much sooner they speak to us and get Ashya the care he desperately needs.’
Mr Shead said the battery on Ashya’s feeding system ‘will have expired’ and police had a ‘shrinking window’ to find him.
He said: ‘Ashya really needs quite specialised care. There are a range of complications around the delivery of that care which really does need specialised medical training.
‘I would appeal to Ashya’s parents, please do not be tempted to think you can deliver that care yourself. It needs specialist medical training and to our knowledge, you do not have that training.
‘Please seek proper medical advice and take Ashya to hospital.’
He added: ‘I’m sure what they are doing, they think they are doing in Ashya’s best interests. But let me assure you, the advice I’ve been given from doctors today is this is a really quite serious situation for Ashya.’
Mr Shead said it was ‘possible’ Ashya’s family had taken him to a medical facility in Spain or France and urged medical professionals who have seen them to contact police.
He said Ashya’s family are believed to have a property in Marbella and the family had previously posted on social media about visiting the area.
Mr Shead said there had not been any more confirmed sightings of the family after he revealed earlier the family’s vehicle was spotted by members of the public yesterday.
Mr Shead called on British ex-pats in Marbella and people with business links in France and Spain to help spread the appeal to find Ashya.
The youngster is in a wheelchair and is fed through a tube. He has undergone “extensive surgery”, with his last operation eight days ago, police have said.
A family friend has claimed Ashya’s parents had ‘run away in desperation’ because they cannot accept nothing can be done for their son.
On Hampshire Constabulary’s Facebook page, Katie Fletcher wrote: ‘This is my mother’s friend, she has run away in desperation because they cannot accept that there is nothing that can be done for their son and want to look for help abroad.
‘Please don’t judge, they are a very sweet loving family and I can only believe they are doing this because they want to help their son.”
The Kings boarded a cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg with Ashya’s six siblings at 4pm on Thursday and arrived in France at 8pm local time.
The family, from Southsea, are travelling in a grey Hyundai I800 Style CRDI, registration KP60 HWK.
Ashya is likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy, he cannot communicate verbally and is immobile, police have said.
Mr Shead said the six-and-a-half-hour gap between Ashya being taken from hospital and police being called would be considered ‘further down the line’.
Read earlier stories about Ashya King here