Man grabs young girl at Melbourne centre, stopped by shoppers

A man who snatched a young child sitting at a Melbourne shopping centre food court has been released by police without charge.

It's believed the four-year-old girl was sitting with her parents at a food court table inside Preston's Northland Shopping Centre when the man pounced on Thursday night.

Witnesses say the man grabbed the girl and ran an estimated 50 metres before being stopped by other shoppers.

Shoppers inside the Northland Shopping Cantre. Source: 7News

The man, a 26-year-old from Reservoir, was found to have an intellectual disability.

He was released by police on Thursday night without charge. A police spokesperson said the investigation is continuing.

A Northland Shopping Centre spokesperson said thy were closely assisting police following an incident at the centre on Thursday.

"Centre management said Victoria Police was contacted immediately and joined security at the scene shortly after the incident," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Inside the Northland Shopping Centre. Source: 7News