Police conduct further checks to prove boy ‘who escaped a commune’ is Alex Batty

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    Police are carrying out further checks to confirm the identity of a teen they believe is missing Brit Alex Batty.

    The boy, from Oldham in Greater Manchester, was 11 when he vanished while travelling with his family in Spain in October 2017. He hadn't been seen since, the Daily Star previously reported.

    It is thought he spent his days in a "spiritual community" at the foot of the Pyrenees Mountains in France before making a break for it and being picked up by a lorry driver, who alerted authorities. Now prosecutors believe the youngster has turned up in Revel, near Toulouse in the nation's southern Occitanie region.

    READ MORE: Missing British boy Alex Batty who disappeared in France six years ago is finally found

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    The boy chatted to Alex's grandmother on a video call yesterday night (Thursday, December 14), Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes of Greater Manchester Police revealed.

    In a press conference on Friday, he told reporters: "The young man and Alex’s grandmother spoke on a video call last night and whilst she is content that this is indeed Alex, we obviously have further checks to do when he returns to the United Kingdom.

    "Our main priority now is to see Alex returned home to his family in the UK and our investigation team are working around the clock with partner agencies and the French authorities to ensure they are all fully supported. Alex and his family remain our focus and we still have some work to do in establishing the full circumstances surrounding his disappearance and where he has been in all those years.

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    "I can only imagine the emotions they have experienced as a family throughout this ordeal."

    Alex, who would now be 17, was with his mother Melanie Batty, then 37, and grandfather David Batty, then 58, when he vanished. Both adults had been banned from being with Alex at the time of his disappearance as a result of domestic difficulties.

    But despite the prohibition the family took a two-week trip to Marbella. They were set to come back to the UK but failed to return, prompting police to launch an inquiry after Alex remained unaccounted for.

    Alex’s grandmother and official guardian Susan Caruana said at the time she reckoned the group may have adopted "an alternative lifestyle" somewhere. Speaking at the time, she said: "They didn't want [Alex] to go to school, they don't believe in mainstream school."

    The teen is expected to return to the UK in the coming days. Assistant Chief Constable Sykes added: "We are working hard to bring Alex back as soon as possible. He’s getting well cared for by the French authorities at the moment, they’re in Toulouse.

    "We’re in close liaison with them and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and our priority is to get him back to the UK and getting back to his family in Oldham as soon as possible."

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