Police officers smashed into a locked car to rescue a trapped baby – only to discover it was an “extremely lifelike” doll.
Two officers from West Midlands Police had gone to the car park at Russells Hall Hospital, in Dudley, after reports of an abandoned baby.
The force said checks were made to trace the owner of the Vauxhall Corsa, but – fearing that a vulnerable mother had deliberately left her baby in the car, which had a blanket wrapped around its face and body – the officers smashed a rear window to rescue the seemingly sickly infant.
Chief Inspector Phil Dolby, of Dudley Police, said: "Two of my officers did the right thing when faced with what they genuinely believed was a baby, alone and critically ill in a locked car on the hospital's car park.
"The colouration of the head appeared discoloured, giving the highly experienced officers additional cause for alarm.
"Efforts were made to trace the owner of the car.
“But believing this was a genuine emergency, they broke a window to investigate further.
"There's no suggestion that the doll was placed in a deliberate effort to waste police time so we will of course pay for the damage caused.
"I apologise to the owner of the car who knows the reasons why my officers took the action they did.
"She will hopefully agree that had it have been a baby in distress and had they not acted, they would be subject of this scrutiny for all the wrong reasons."
West Midlands Police have now turned the bizarre case of mistaken identity into a debate, asking members of the public what they would do in the same circumstances.
Writing on Instagram, it said: “We’re asking people to put themselves in the shoes of two Dudley police officers who came across what they thought was an abandoned newborn baby locked in a car.
“Wrapped tightly in a blanket with its face and arms covered, the duo feared that a depressed mother had left her ‘baby’.
“We think the officers did the right thing when faced with what they genuinely believes was a baby, alone and critically ill in a locked car on the hospital’s car park.
“Do you think our officers did the right thing? What would you have done in their shoes?”
Additional reporting by Press Association
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