TOURISTS from Gwent are being urged to help police track a sex offender and his wife who abducted their eight-month-old baby and fled to France.

The baby boy disappeared with his parents on Monday after his mother failed to return him to social workers at Ebbw Vale from a pre-arranged, unsupervised visit.

The father, Gerald Baker, had access to his child, but on a supervised basis.

Police believe the family are now in France, travelling in a blue Ford Sierra estate car, registration K749 NPB, and they are asking holidaymakers going to the country to help find them.

We revealed yesterday how the baby is believed to be with Baker, 46, from Brynmawr, a man who has a record of seven convictions for sex offences, the last being in March 1998 when he was jailed for three years by a judge at Bournemouth crown court for indecent assault on a boy under 14.

Gwent police say none of his sex offence convictions relate to any child of his, and they are not violent offences, but a spokeswoman said: "We do think that he poses a danger to young children."

Today, Detective Inspector Mark Sutton says he is "very concerned" for the welfare of the baby.

Baker and wife Helene, 37, from Blaenavon, picked up tickets for the 12.45pm Portsmouth to Cherbourg ferry crossing.

Detectives now believe they are in France. A team of officers is working on the case, liaising with Interpol and with the French police.

Detective Inspector Sutton said: "I would appeal to the couple for the safe return of the child. It is a genuine appeal for them to bring the child back to social services.

"We are also asking the public to help us find them. The safety of this child is paramount."

He also asked anyone holidaying in France to look out for the pair and the baby.

DI Sutton added: "The step to take a child into the care of social services is obviously not taken lightly - and we are concerned in relation to the safety of this child."

Anyone who can help should contact Ebbw Vale police station on 01495 350999.