The baby, Charlie Waylen, was stolen from the Mary Ward of the Royal United Hospital in Bath, Avon, between 1.30pm and 2.35pm yesterday but was returned to his parents within four hours after a massive police search.
Louise Waylen, 25, said the hours when he was missing 'seemed like an eternity'. Her husband Andrew, 29, a farm worker, added with tears in his eyes: 'I thought the poor little bugger was dead.'
Officers were called to the hospital after Mrs Waylen, from Seend in Wiltshire, discovered her first-born baby missing from his crib. More than 50 police with tracker dogs carried out a close search of the extensive hospital grounds.
But it was a radio listener, responding to appeals for information about the abduction, which led to the baby's return.
Police had earlier called on local residents and taxi-drivers for help in tracing a white woman with short dark hair, wearing a blue anorak, who had been in the hospital asking mothers questions about their babies at about 11am.
Last night, the hospital pledged an inquiry. Alan Connor, chief executive of the Wiltshire Health Care Trust, which manages its maternity services, said: 'There will be a review of security in light of this incident.'
A 29-year-old woman from Bath and a 33-year- old man were last night helping police with their inquiries in connection with the abuction from the NHS-trust hospital.Reuse content