Three arrested over theft of caravan with baby boy inside

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Police launched a six-hour hunt for a missing baby boy yesterday after thieves stole a caravan in which he was sleeping.

The alarm was raised by the baby's teenage mother, who returned from a trip to the lavatory at 4.25am to find that the vehicle had vanished from the travellers' site near Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.

Police arrested three travellers who were found with the caravan in a lay-by off the M6 in Cheshire at 7am and the boy was discovered safe and well on his great grandmother's doorstep three hours later.

Police believe the travellers were initially unaware that four-week-old John Flynn was inside the caravan. They dropped him off at the doorstep of his great grandmother, Margaret Connors, in Wolverhampton, 60 miles from the site.

Mrs Connors was not at home at the time but alerted police after she returned at 10.30am. The boy, who was wrapped in a blanket and was fast asleep, was later carried out of the house by his aunt Carolyn Flynn into a waiting police car.

Ms Flynn, 21, said: "It is travellers that's done it, they must have known this was the baby's great grandmother."

Police later said the baby was being looked after by social services. Inspector Paul Affron said: "He is with us, safe and well, with a member of the family and with police officers."

The baby's mother, Bridget Flynn, 19, said: "I can't believe what has happened. I went out to go to the toilet and when I came back the caravan was gone."

She said she had gone into nearby bushes and then to see some friends on the travellers' site to get a cigarette. "As soon as I saw that my baby was gone I started screaming and crying and no one could do anything about it," she said.

Speaking before the missing baby turned up, his grandmother, Nelly Connors, said: "Michael, the baby's father, had come round to mine because he and Bridget had a misunderstanding. He was there to calm down. Then we got a call saying the baby had gone."