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Mum's horror as car thieves take baby

PUBLISHED: 13:50 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:00 07 September 2010

Ben McPartland A TERRIFIED mother from West Hampstead saw her worst nightmare come true when her car was stolen – with her baby still inside. Thieves stole the vehicle when the 35-year-old mum popped into Beckford primary to pick up her son from an after-

Ben McPartland

A TERRIFIED mother from West Hampstead saw her worst nightmare come true when her car was stolen - with her baby still inside.

Thieves stole the vehicle when the 35-year-old mum popped into Beckford primary to pick up her son from an after-school club at 6pm.

The nine-month-old baby was left in the back seat and with the doors open and the keys still in the ignition, the thieves were able to simply get in and drive off.

Headteacher of the Dornfell Street primary Dilys Hoffman called 999 and police set up road blocks immediately. Thankfully, the car was found half an hour later dumped in Kilburn with the baby still inside and unharmed.

Ms Hoffman said: "The mother is very shocked by the whole incident. I know many parents are and the staff were certainly upset.

"I had to call 999 and I had to encourage the parent to be calm because the police needed her licence plate number. But she was clearly distressed, as was her son who she came to collect.

"The police were brilliant. They were here within six or seven minutes."

It is not yet clear whether the thieves knew the baby was inside and stole the car for a prank or whether they just dumped the vehicle when they realised they had an unexpected extra passenger.

The incident, which happened on Tuesday February 24, was captured on the school's CCTV. Footage was then passed to the police.

Ms Hoffman has called for lessons to be learned from the incident: "Never leave a child in a car and never leave your keys in there with the engine running.

"It is a lesson lots of parents could learn. They need to be very careful. People do it all the time.

"They are in a hurry coming back from work or when they pop into the shops. This is not the first time and it won't be the last but it is something for parents to think about."

A police spokesman said they recovered the car nearby in Exeter Road with the child still secured in the back seat.

"So far there have been no arrests and enquiries continue," said the spokesman.

"The suspect is described as a white male aged between 16 and 20 years, approximately 5ft 10ins tall, wearing a grey hooded top and with short hair."

Anyone with information is asked to call Camden Police on 020-7404 1212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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