The parents of Lily Weaver, the nine-year-old girl who disappeared from an Epsom shopping centre last Saturday, appealed to the public for information about their daughter, but left journalists uneasy at the number of unrelated tangents they went off on during the 45 minute press conference.
Holding a picture of the missing girl taken on a recent trip to Cornwall, her father, David went into some detail about the weather during the trip and a rather nice seafood restaurant they had found quite by chance while looking for a shortcut back to the B&B, finishing the anecdote with a joke about winkles the owner had told him.
Returning briefly to the subject of their missing child, her mother, Alexis, when describing the clothing Lily was wearing on the day she disappeared, surprised reporters with her five minute digression on the relative merits of Gap and Zara for children's clothes.
The couple broke down in tears as CCTV footage was shown of them wandering off to look at mobile phone covers while their daughter was reading books in Waterstone’s, but the Weavers somehow recovered their composure as the conversation turned to how Britain was turning into a surveillance society.
Mrs Weaver once again appealed to potential witnesses, saying, 'She is such a sweet child, the light of our lives. All we want is to see her again. It's her tenth birthday next week, and we are planning to buy her a hamster as a pet...or was it a gerbil? Which was it Dave? She wanted the one with the longer tail...'
The consensus among the gathered reporters was that it was the gerbil that had the longer tail, and shortly afterwards, Chief Constable Craig King of Surrey Police who was sitting along side the Weavers was able to confirm this using his web enabled phone.
The Chief Constable added that gerbils prefer to live with other gerbils, as opposed to hamsters who are solitary animals, and that gerbils should not be kept in housing designed for hamsters and mice as they require the ability to be able to dig tunnel systems, and can gnaw through commercially available plastic hamster tanks.
Lily was later found at the back of the press conference having wandered in while looking for a policeman.