Thieves abandon baby by roadside after stealing car

(First Edition)

CAR THIEVES dumped a 15-month-old girl by a roadside after stealing her mother's vehicle, police said yesterday.

The child was strapped in her car seat when two men drove the vehicle away from a petrol station forecourt in Bensham Road, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, yesterday afternoon while the mother was paying for fuel.

The men abandoned the child in nearby St Cuthbert's Village as they tried to make their escape, a police spokeswoman said. She was later found safe and well.

The baby's mother, who has not been named, had left the key in the ignition of her Vauxhall Cavalier. The men abandoned the car on a road approaching the Redheugh Bridge, which crosses the river Tyne to Newcastle, after being spotted by a police helicopter alerted to the incident.

Police last night charged a man with kidnapping and taking a car without consent. He will appear before Gateshead magistrates today. Meanwhile, detectives were continuing their hunt for another man.