A British father has been left fearing for his daughter’s safety after she disappeared when she was taken to Poland by his estranged partner.
The father says the six-year-old has gone missing with her mother since being abducted and taken out of Britain.
Now he has appealed to the Foreign Office to do more to put pressure on the Polish authorities to find the girl.
The father, who cannot be named, has accused the Polish police of refusing to act on orders by the country’s own courts to ensure she is returned to the UK.
He fears that his daughter, who was born in Suffolk, and went on to attend primary school in Newmarket, is suffering from being uprooted and taken from him.
In August 2018, her mother - a Polish national who had lived in Britain for 18 years - took her daughter to Poland for a visit and has since kept her there, refusing to return.
The father, from Essex, says he only learnt the pair had left the country in a text from his former partner saying: “For now we are not coming back to UK. [The child] is safe and happy, I will let you know any further information later”.
He told The Telegraph: "That text messaged changed my life forever, inducing incredible amounts of stress and anxiety, and a financial burden that we will suffer the consequences of for years to come”.
Legal documents show that the girl’s mother is in breach of an order issued by Peterborough Family Court in August 2013 prohibiting the girl’s removal from the UK.
The Family Division of the High Court has since made the child a ward of court and ordered her immediate return to England.
But the 56-year-old father, a university teacher, says that far from this happening his daughter and her mother have apparently disappeared after the child was taken out of the Polish-English nursery she was attending in the city of Piotrków Trybunalski.
In February last year he succeeded in obtaining an order from the Regional Court in Lodz, Poland, ordering his daughter’s return to England.
Despite losing an appeal against the order her mother, a landscape gardener, has since failed to comply with the ruling and has not returned the six-year-old to this country.
The father claims she has now gone into hiding with the child and that the Polish police have made no attempt to find her, because they regard it as a civil not a criminal matter.
He told The Telegraph: “There are a significant number of Polish Court Orders issued by the court at Lodz ordering the return of my daughter and ordering the Polish Police to find my daughter and her mother.
“But the Polish police have ignored these orders and taken no action to find my daughter or her mother. They appear to have no intention of enforcing the court orders. This is completely unacceptable.
“They believe that they can take on the role of a court and suspend enforcement action despite specifically being told not to and to find my daughter, they are just as much in contempt of court as the mother is for the abduction and illegal retention of my daughter in Poland.”
In a letter from the investigations department of Poland’s police HQ, he was told: “According to the Polish provisions of law, the case described by you may have a nature of a dispute which will need to be resolved in civil legal proceedings. Therefore, the Polish police are not authorized to undertake any action in this matter.”
He accuses the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of failing to do enough to bring pressure on the Polish authorities to find his daughter and have her returned to Britain. He has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary and Robert Buckland, the Justice Minister, asking for help, but says “the FCO just refers everything to the British Embassy in Poland for action, and they have already said to me that there is not much they can do”.
The father said the British Embassy appears to have limited its action to writing just one diplomatic letter to the Polish government.
“We have taken every opportunity to make sure the UK Government was well informed, but it would seem they pick and choose who they support, and they are not supporting me, my family and most importantly my 6 year old daughter,” he said.
“The UK Government continues to fail parents of abducted children, especially fathers. The lack of support from the very top to the bottom is designed to prevent a father obtaining justice”.
Although the child cannot be identified in this country she has been named along with her parents by Polish media outlets as part of their coverage of the story.
The girl’s mother has claimed in court documents that the father had a negative attitude towards their daughter's Polish roots and to her learning Polish, and that she feared he was trying to turn the child against her.
She also claimed that she had decided to move to Poland on a permanent basis because she had lost the house she was renting here and was not receiving child maintenance from R’s father.
An FCO spokesperson said: “We are supporting the father of a British girl who has been abducted and taken to Poland, and are in contact with Polish authorities as they continue in their search.”