People in Wiltshire have been urged to be the 'eyes and ears of the police' to help spot the signs of a child in danger.

A new initiative has been launched to encourage taxi drivers, train and bus staff, as well as the general public, to look out for warning signs and help protect young people.

People are being encouraged to look out for children and young people who are:

- Travelling during the school day or during unusual hours, such as late in the evening

- With an older individual who appears controlling

- A victim of physical assault or unexplained injuries

- Receiving lots of texts, phones or video calls

- Looking withdrawn or distressed in the company of adults

- In a vulnerable state due to drink or drugs, accompanied by older individuals

- Possibly from another area, look lost or have a distinct accent

- Collected and taken to hotels, parties, B&Bs or other gatherings

- With an adult expressing sexualised behaviour to them

- Dropped off at any location that causes concern

- Having their fares paid by adults who are not in the taxi.

Cllr Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for children, education and skills said: "We know young people are out there who are being exploited and we are asking for your help to put a stop to it. Public transport is often used, so we want our taxi drivers, train staff and bus drivers and everyone using transport to look out and speak out."

Detective Supertendent Ben Mant, Head of Wiltshire Police's Public Protection Department, added: "Being able to spot the signs that point towards a child or young person being exploited is crucial in our work with our partners to clamp down on this type of crime.

"There are so many reasons why a child could be manipulated and coerced in to doing something they may not want and it's up to us all to notice as early on as possible so we can all try and prevent it and in some cases save a child from a life of misery and crime."

Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, also urged the public to be the "the eyes and ears of the police".

If you think a child is at risk of significant harm for Wiltshire call MASH on 0300 456 0108 8:45pm - 5pm and until 4pm on Friday and out of hours 0300 456 0100

For non-emergency response or advice contact Crimestoppers 0800 55511 or Crimestoppers