Cheshire police were hard at work getting across messages of personal safety and crime prevention to thousands of visitors at the Cheshire Show this week.

Hundreds of youngsters poured into the Cheshire Constabulary marquee on Tuesday and Wednesday to learn an important lesson in online safety.

They were introduced to Sophie, a fictional 15-year-old girl who met someone online she believed to be a boy her own age. However, as the tale unfolded and the children filled in their accompanying quiz books, they learned about how Sophie was abducted and the steps police officers might take to trace missing people like her.

The children were tested on their online safety knowledge, and when to dial 999 in an emergency and when the non-emergency 101 number should be used. They also matched up fingerprints, took some of their own, and even took part in a mock press conference appealing for help to find Sophie.

 

Elsewhere, staff and officers engaged with the adults to deliver road safety messages for motorcyclists and tractor drivers, encourage participation in the community HomeWatch scheme, and also educate people in rural and heritage crimes.

Visitors could also learn more about becoming a police volunteer, joining the Special Constabulary, and how to support the Museum of Policing in Warrington.

But the biggest stir at the Cheshire Constabulary stand was possibly caused by ‘Belle′, a 14ft-tall marionette dressed as a female officer, visible from many parts of the showground.

Cheshire Constabulary′s corporate communications manager, Jane Gregory, said: "Everyone involved with our stand thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially talking to and helping the children who really engaged with the messages we were trying to get across − in particular that you can never be sure who you′re talking to over the internet.

"The feedback we had from parents and teachers was very positive, and we hope that everyone who attended our stand over the two days went away either with something new they had learned, or with a greater interest in policing as a whole."

View a gallery of photographs from Day 1 of the Cheshire Show.

View a gallery of photographs from Day 2 of the Cheshire Show.