Motorist reported to social services after leaving babies in car

A woman has been reported to social services by police after leaving her three children, including two babies, in an unlocked car with the engine running.

Police say the children were left in the vehicle for at least five minutes yesterday in Catterick Village.

The car was spotted by officers while they were taking part in a crackdown on illegal parking in and around schools in the district.

Inspector Martin Metcalfe, from Richmondshire neighbourhood policing unit, said: “I was very disappointed to see an unattended motor car within the yellow markings, unlocked with engine running containing a young child in the front seat and two babies in the rear.

“This was left for at least five minutes and upon the mother returning, she could not understand what was wrong.

“This beggars belief and I was shocked and for a police officer with over 32 years service that is saying a lot.”

The officer said the woman had been reported for the offences, with social services and the school also being informed.

Insp Metcalfe said parking outside schools had improved since a previous crackdown in November.

“I would like to say things have really improved overall, so I would like to personally say thank you very much to all those parents and guardians that are parking responsibly now and always have done.

“That is very much appreciated as our pupils are so much safer as a result of this.

“Having said that, we are still seeing some irresponsible people leaving their vehicles in dangerous places and putting our pupils at risk, so will continue to clamp down when we can.”

Since November, more than 100 motorists have received warnings, with at least 25 traffic offence reports that could result in a fine of up to £1,000 being issued.


  1. As a bystander I witnessed and spoke to the parent in question. She was parked illegally but could see her car and and children, the officer stated she was parked for 5 minutes and the children were unattended that is not true it was about a minute before the officer approached and as I said above she could see her car at all times she was maybe 8ft away.

    • She was ‘only 8ft away’ because she was parked illegally which then caused more risk to a lot of other people. As much as everyone is jumping to defend her, she will not be the first nor the last to have several children and life and time management comes in to park safely and get to school pick up. Services are there to support all of us parents and if she was already struggling she could have asked for help proactively. As a driver she is expected to know the rules of the road and not put others at risk.

  2. This is complete rubbish, that mother was never more than 8ft away from her vehicle and she was out of the car less than 60 seconds. It was pouring with rain and strong winds so she left the children warm in the car. The officer was so rude, aggressive and intimidating and pointing fingers to this poor mum even after her pleading with him to ‘stop yelling’ he took great pleasure in questioning her parenting skills and humiliating her infront of parents and children leaving the school grounds. When other parents could see how awful this was becoming a few of us stayed behind so that she was not alone. He then felt the need to punish her more by marching into the school to demand social services be involved, because making a grown woman cry in public infront of her children, giving her a fine and causing humiliation was not enough. Disgusting behaviour, my own son was frightened of him as were the other wide eyed shocked children walking past.

  3. This is absolutely disgusting and lots of lies, the way the officer spoke to this mum who was visibly upset was awful. Her kids were not unattended she could see them from where she was stood. I was a parent picking my child up I’d never met this mum before as she’s new to the school. I had to go get her son for her as he was upset and distressed seeing the officer shouting at him mum as he was in the school office where he could also see his mum and her car. The officer made awful comments about her parenting and made her incredibly upset. The officer was also parked illegally in a residential parking space where us parents don’t park to collect our children.

  4. As an earlier contributor has stated, it is an offence to leave the engine running whilst the vehicle is unattended. There is also the issue of unnecessary pollution, which as we all know if having a detrimental affect on the health of our children (and all of us). I have dealt with a number of insurance claims where people have left the car running, with the keys inside and vehicle was stolen (and the driver was only a matter of feet away). It nullifies the insurance, but how horrific if the children were taken too! This story would not then just be in the local paper, but on the national news! I hope the person concerned in this story has been able to solve any child care issues to enable them to collect their child safely and not break the law.

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