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''Time is running out'' for a seriously ill five-year-old boy with a brain tumour who was taken without consent from hospital by his parents, police have warned.

At a press conference today, officers leading the search for little Ashya King revealed the battery on his feeding system will run out imminently.

The youngster was being treated at Southampton General Hospital following an operation last week.

But yesterday afternoon his father Brett King was seen on CCTV cameras wheeling him out of the hospital in Tremona Road - without the consent of doctors.

The images were captured around 2pm - but the hospital failed to raise the alarm to police until 8.35pm.

Why that happened is now something that needs to be looked in to according to Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead, who said the primary focus was to find Ashya and get him urgent medical treatment.

As reported earlier today, police know that Ashya's parents Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, left the country via Portsmouth ferry terminal at 4pm yesterday, along with their other six children.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead said: ''It is vital that we find Ashya today. His health will deteriorate rapidly.''

He added: ''Ashya is in a wheelchair and is fed through a tube. The feeding system is battery operated and that battery will run out today.

''Time is running out for this little boy. We need to find him and we need to find him urgently.''