This is the shocking moment a four-year-old autistic boy was rescued by a quick-thinking workman having fled nursery and run towards a busy road.
Charlie Heslop escaped the grounds of Second Home Childcare centre in Gateshead, but his mother says she was initially told by staff at the nursery that her son had just run into the nursery car park.
CCTV footage captured a workman chasing the boy, who has been diagnosed with non-verbal autism, as he ran down the middle of a side street towards a main road last Tuesday.
After hearing other parents discussing a 'runaway child' at the nursery gates, Charlie's mother Rachael, 28, appealed on social media for more information and was sent dash cam footage of the incident.
The video shows Charlie dart out of the children's centre gate in front of a van driven by two brothers – Jeff and Dan, of RWR Waste.
Heslop said: "Once their van stopped and they realised Charlie was without an adult, one of them jumped out of the van and ran to stop Charlie as he continued to run along the middle of the road towards oncoming traffic.
"Once he's stopped Charlie, he's started to walk him back along to the nursery which is when two of the children's centre staff came out. They then took him back to nursery staff.'
Charlie's mother said she was left in tears and suffered a panic attack after hearing what had happened.
She added: "Now whilst this is all bad enough, this is where it gets worse.
"After finding out how far he'd actually gotten we were told that at the time of the call at 11.45am, they didn't have all the information yet as the priority was letting us know.
"Charlie got onto the road at 10:33am - an hour and 12 minutes before they called and they supposedly didn't have all of the information."
Heslop claims her son was able to escape because the children were playing in an unsecured yard rather than the garden which is secured with fences and gates with locks.
She said: "Why they were playing there I'll never understand, because even with adult supervision and protocols in place there is still open access from there to the road.
"Accidents happen, everyone that knows Charlie, knows that he’s an escape artist that’s quicker than a whippet, but in my eyes the council are just as much to blame as the site is not secure enough.
"The building the nursery is operated from is owned by Gateshead Council, so why they think it's safe to rent to a childcare provider without installing a perimeter fence and gate is honestly beyond me.
"We were so lucky. I honestly think if it wasn’t for the guys at RWR running after Charlie, which subsequently meant Charlie changed direction to run away, that Charlie probably would have got to the end of the road and would have been hit by a passing car."
A spokeswoman for Second Home nursery told Yahoo News UK that no comment could be made but the incident was under investigation.
A statement from Gateshead Council sent to Yahoo News UK said: "Both the indoor and outdoor areas rented by the nursery are totally secure to ensure the safety of the children.
"The nursery are also able to use the outdoor trim trail facilities, which enhances the offer available for the children in their care, although they are only able to do this on the understanding that the children are strictly supervised.
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"Ofsted have been informed about this incident and will undertake an investigation."
Heslop has now created a petition to urge Gateshead Council to install a perimeter fence to prevent anything similar happening again.
A spokeswoman for Ofsted said: "We don’t confirm or comment on complaints, but any that we receive are assessed and action taken where necessary."
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