ALL charges have been dropped against a man accused of abducting a girl at the centre of a national police search.

North Yorkshire Police issued a public appeal for help after they were told Le Linh Thi Dieu, 15, had disappeared from a tourist group in York on August 6.

She was seen in Coney Street at 4.30pm and on the Bar Walls near Station Rise at 4.40pm.

As the search spread from York to Manchester and Staffordshire, they arrested eight people in connection with her disappearance, including Ho Quang Ngoc, 25, of no fixed address.

He was remanded in custody on charges of abducting her from her lawful guardian, a woman described as her “mother”, and breaching immigration rules by preventing her leaving the UK in accordance with her tourist visa.

But in an unexpected move, the CPS arranged for the case to be brought before York Crown Court six days before it was due for a plea and trial preparation hearing as a meeting of lawyers and police had decided there was insufficient evidence to continue the case.

Rob Galley, prosecuting, said Miss Dieu had handed herself into police in the south of England and was unharmed.

“The person purporting to be her apparent mother may not be that parent,” he said. “There were concerns about why she was here in this country.”

After reading documents in the case, Judge Simon Hickey revealed “people are investigating both her identity and age and also her 'mother'".

He added: “I am satisfied the crown has taken the course it has.”

York Crown Court heard that Miss Dieu arrived in the UK on a tourist visa with a condition that she remain at all times with the person described as her “mother”.

In the days leading up to her disappearance, Mr Ngoc and Miss Dieu were in contact by phone several times.

He arrived in York on Platform 3 of York Railway Station at 3.57pm on August 6 and within an hour he and Miss Dieu were in a taxi on their way to Manchester.

She was last seen in Manchester. After his arrest, Mr Ngoc told police different stories, including that she had then travelled to Staffordshire.

Defence barrister Victoria Smith-Swain said Miss Dieu handed herself in voluntarily. “She said he was intending to take her to her brother,” she said.

Mr Galley confirmed Miss Dieu had said she wanted to see one of her two brothers.

Mr Ngoc attended York Crown Court via a video link to the prison where he was being held.

The case was formally closed and the prison was told he was no longer detained by order of the court.

The Home Office is aware of the case.