Thursday, September 20, 2007


Police started a missing person alert for a great-grandmother - only for her to turn up 12 hours later having been locked in a public loo overnight. Gwyneth Coles, 77, of Pickering, North Yorkshire, got locked in the town's toilets after nipping in following a bus journey on Monday evening.

Although an attendant locking up shouted to check the building was empty, he failed to hear her answer. Flushed council officials apologised and sent Mrs Coles a bunch of flowers.

Mrs Coles' relatives and friends became worried when she did not return home and called North Yorkshire Police who issued a nationwide missing person alert.

"I thought, I'm here for the night, they're closed and I've been forgotten and they don't open 'til seven tomorrow morning what am I going to do?" said Mrs Coles.

The resilient great-grandmother put on four jumpers she had in her bags and settled down for a night under the tiles. She even managed to drift off to sleep for part of the night.

But salvation came when the caretaker returned at 0700 BST on Tuesday morning and found her inside. Mrs Coles said: "I couldn't tell anyone, there was no way of communicating you see. I'd no mobile phone on me, there's nothing in here, you know, emergency equipment. So I thought, nobody knows I'm here."

John Davidson of Rydale District Council said: "Very unfortunately Mrs Coles was locked into our public toilets overnight which was extremely unfortunate. "We're very sorry that this happened."

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