Remus, Janko and David Matloch, aged 15, 12, and 10, were seen on CCTV catching a Metro train from their home city of Sunderland to Newcastle and were last seen emerging from the Central Station at around 6pm on Monday.
The boys, of Polish extraction, have been living with foster carers in Sunderland for 18 months and Superintendent Alan Veitch said they were settled, doing well at school, and in no trouble at all.
At a news conference, he said: “We are quite worried about them. We think they have some money, but limited funds. They need to look after themselves. It is now 24 hours since they were last seen.”
Remus, 15, is 5ft 7in, of slim build, with dark hair in a big quiff at the front and shaved at the back. He was last seen wearing joggers, a baseball cap, and T-shirt and a black cycling helmet.
Janko, 12, is 4ft 8in, of medium build, and with fairer hair styled in a quiff and short at the back. He was last seen wearing smart mustard-coloured chinos, Converse-type trainers, a blue lightweight waterproof jacket with a white zip, and a silver cycling helmet
David, 10, is 4ft 8in, of chubby build, with shaggy dark brown hair. He was possibly wearing shorts, a top and a silver cycling helmet.
The brothers left their home in The Oaks, Sunderland, for a bike ride in nearby Mowbray Park at 5.20pm and were due to be home at 8pm. Their worried foster parents contacted police an hour after they failed to come home.
Veitch said the children’s natural parents, who were Romany-Polish, had not been contacted. Their children were taken into care and the mother was believed to be back in Poland and the father in Romania. They had lived in the UK for around 15 years.
The boys, who have four sisters also in care, used to live in Blyth, Northumberland, and police were making inquiries there. They also have family links to Birmingham, so colleagues from West Midlands Police were assisting.
The brothers did not take their bikes on to the Metro and they were also missing.
CCTV last caught them around 200m from the station in Newcastle.
“That’s where the trail has gone cold,” Veitch said. “They might have arranged to meet someone, jumped in a car, taxi, or bus, or come back into the station and caught another train.
“This is very out-of-character behaviour, it’s not something they have done before.”