A MOTORIST who was carrying a toddler in the back of his pick-up truck secured only with rope and propped up between bags of coal told police: “What’s the problem? He’s strapped in” when he was stopped by officers.
The driver was seen by members of the public when travelling with the little boy along the seafront at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland. He then left him strapped to his pick-up as he collected coal from the beach. Stunned passers-by called the police, who eventually found the unnamed man in a nearby fish and chip shop.
A dismayed onlooker, who photographed the incident on her mobile phone, said: “When police questioned the driver he just said, ‘What’s the problem? – he’s strapped in’ and pointed to the rope.
“No one could quite believe what they were seeing.”
Propped up on a child’s seat, the toddler had then been tied to the truck and sandwiched between heavy bags of coal.
The woman added: “I thought it was a doll at first. But then I saw the boy’s head move and he pointed at a bird in the sky.
“It is a completely idiotic way to transport a child. His seat was wobbling all over the place as the car pulled in.”
Two officers who arrived at the scene found that the driver had left the boy unattended in the open-air part of the truck.
The female witness also said people had tried to speak to another man sitting in the passenger seat but he refused to wind the window down until police arrived.
She added: “There were bags scattered all around him. Debris could have blown into the back and hit him. If the driver had slammed on the brakes he could have been crushed by bags of coal.”
Police are now investigating the incident, which happened earlier this month.
A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said a man has now been issued with a summons for motoring offences and may be requested to appear at a police station or court in the next few weeks.
He said: “Enquiries are still ongoing. No one has been arrested.”
Anyone caught driving with a passenger under 14 not wearing an appropriate seat belt faces a fine of up to £500.