Police break into woman's house to rescue 'abandoned baby' – Sky News

Ava Prior makes the ultra-realistic “reborn” dolls as a hobby and sells them online.
Tuesday 6 February 2024 13:10, UK
A woman who sells ultra-realistic dolls had police break into her home believing one was a real baby.
Ava Prior, who makes “reborn” baby dolls as a hobby, said officers smashed the back door down, causing more than £400 worth of damage.
The mother of three said: “It wasn’t hilarious at the time but I can see the funny side now.
“I had to have the back door boarded up, which cost £260, the glass for the back door was £120 and £60 to repair the front door.
“I was looking at about £350 – £400 by the time I was done.”
In December Ms Prior, from Malvern, Worcestershire, dressed one of the dolls in a snowsuit, put it in a carrycot and photographed it to post pictures online to sell.
After taking the pictures of the doll, which can fetch up to £180, she left the carrycot on the floor, turned the light off and went over to a friend’s house.
At the same time her mother, who she speaks with regularly, was trying to get hold of her but couldn’t because she had her phone turned off.
Her concerned parent then called the police who went round to Ms Prior’s house.
Upon arriving, officers from West Mercia Police mistook the doll in the carrycot for a real baby and smashed through the back door to get to the doll.
Police then located Ms Prior at her friend’s house, explained what had happened and urged her to contact her mother.
To prevent any similar mishaps occurring, the 44-year-old has now placed stickers on her window saying: “‘Reborn dolls on premises. NO babies are alone in the house – please do NOT panic or break doors/window. Many thanks :).”
“When the police knocked at the door my friend came in and said ‘it’s for you’,” Ms Prior said.
“I went to the door and they said ‘do you have a baby?’ and then I realised what it was about.
“I told them I painted life-like dolls and they said ‘well you’re very good at it because we’ve just broken into your house’.
“They also said I needed to phone my mum as she was upset because she thought something had happened to me.
“I was going through a divorce at the time. I always answer my phone or text, so when she couldn’t get hold of me she panicked.
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“She called the police and that’s when they went round and saw the seat with the doll and broke in.
“The UPVC front door had the trim off it and a big dent in the front.
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“Apparently that didn’t give way so they went round the back and then put the patio door through.”
West Mercia Police confirmed officers gained entry to the house after a report of a concern for welfare.
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