Police arrest woman and man on suspicion of child neglect ‘after a one-year-old boy was found wandering the streets barefoot and without a coat’

  • Boy seen by neighbours wandering alone on Main Avenue in Torquay, Devon
  • Took him in and told police, who began door-to-door enquiries to find parents
  • Boy has now been taken into care and the parents arrested and held in custody

Liz Perkins

and
Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Police have arrested a woman and a man on suspicion of child neglect after a one-year-old boy was found wandering the streets alone, barefoot and without a coat. 

Neighbours spotted the infant on Main Avenue, in Torquay, Devon, at 1.30pm yesterday and took him inside before calling police. 

It took more than four hours of enquiries before officers were able to locate his parents – a woman in her 40s and a man in his 30s. The child was taken into care. 

Neighbours spotted the one-year-old boy on Main Avenue, in Torquay, Devon, at 1.30pm yesterday and took him inside before calling police. Pictured: The road yesterday 

Neighbours spotted the one-year-old boy on Main Avenue, in Torquay, Devon, at 1.30pm yesterday and took him inside before calling police. Pictured: The road yesterday 

Neighbours spotted the one-year-old boy on Main Avenue, in Torquay, Devon, at 1.30pm yesterday and took him inside before calling police. Pictured: The road yesterday 

The parents were eventually identified at 5pm yesterday and arrested. 

A neighbour said it took them half an hour to answer the door when authorities went knocking.

The parents are said to have six children in total ranging from late teens to child who was found wandering the streets yesterday. 

The neighbour, who did not want to be named, said neither parent worked and had rented the property for several years.

‘A man turned up with a clipboard at first and was knocking on the door and couldn’t get a response,’ the neighbour said.

‘Then police turned up and were banging on the door for half an hour before they got an answer.

‘I think they were going to knock the door down if there was no answer. I think the parents had been upstairs. But they didn’t even know the child was missing.’

The neighbour did not know how long the child had been out, but said he could have been seriously injured.  

‘There’s a set of steep steps nearby that lead down to Chatto Road – if he’d fallen down there he could have been seriously injured.

‘There are people who have lived around here for decades and they hate seeing what has happened.

‘The couple aren’t well liked. They never go out, they don’t work, both of them smoke and seem to argue a lot. It’s a sorry state of affairs.’ 

It took several hours of door-to-door enquiries before officers (seen by Main Avenue in Torquay yesterday) were finally able to locate his parents and the child was taken into care 

It took several hours of door-to-door enquiries before officers (seen by Main Avenue in Torquay yesterday) were finally able to locate his parents and the child was taken into care 

It took several hours of door-to-door enquiries before officers (seen by Main Avenue in Torquay yesterday) were finally able to locate his parents and the child was taken into care 

Another resident, who saw the boy yesterday, said he was 18-months-old and had very limited speech.  

‘He didn’t seem at all phased being in a stranger’s house. He seemed clean but had no shoes or socks on.’ 

Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘We were called at 1.25pm on January 2 to reports of young boy being found in the street in Torquay.

‘A woman in her 40s and a man in his 30s have been arrested on suspicion of child neglect. 

‘They remain in police custody and will be interviewed by specialist child protection officers today. The boy has been taken into police protection and is safe. Investigations are ongoing.’    

A Torbay Council Spokesperson said: ‘It would be inappropriate for us to comment on individual cases.’ 

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