Police stormed a plane with seconds to spare to stop a man taking a child from Britain to Romania.
A 32-year-old man had been tracked by police, driving a four-year-old girl from Nottinghamshire to Heathrow Airport where he was handcuffed and the girl returned to her mother.
The 6pm flight for Romania's capital city, Bucharest was halted on the runway on Thursday after a "hugely complex and challenging case" reported just over an hour earlier.
A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of child abduction and the girl was safely reunited with her mother, NottinghamshireLive reports.
Detective Sergeant Ruth Walker who is leading the investigation said: "When the report came in it was a race against the clock to find them.
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"Using intelligence techniques and automatic number plate recognition cameras to help to trace and track down the car we identified he was at Heathrow airport and did some border checks there to pinpoint which flight he was booked on to.
"We got the phone call at 4.57pm and they were due to fly at 6pm.
"It was due to take off and it was stopped on the runway.
"This was fantastic work by a whole host of officers and detectives across multi-agencies from Nottinghamshire and the Met Police.
"The plane was taxiing ready for take-off, but we were able to get there just in time before it took flight. The plane then returned to the terminal and the man was arrested.
"This was a hugely complex and challenging case, with its obvious pressures.
"I'd like to praise the team of detectives for their commitment and dedication to the investigation."
The man was questioned by detectives today and has been released on police bail, with conditions, pending further enquiries.
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