Detectives are investigating allegations that a six-year-old girl was snatched from her bath, assaulted and left naked in a nearby street.
Officers said they were treating the matter as a sexually motivated crime and were carrying out inquiries to find out whether anyone had seen a man acting suspiciously near the house.
Police were called by the girl's mother on Tuesday night after she discovered that her daughter was missing from the ground-floor bathroom of their home in Willington Quay, North Tyneside.
The naked girl was found by a local resident moments later wandering around in a distressed state.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Napier, of Northumbria Police, said: "This little girl has had a very frightening experience and we are making every possible effort to find the man responsible. Specially trained officers will be talking to the girl to establish exactly what happened.
"We believe she was taken from the bathroom and left in the street after being assaulted. Thankfully, she was found safe and well and had only been missing a short time."
Police collecting forensic evidence cordoned off the area where the girl was found and conducted house-to-house inquiries.Reuse content