POLICE have thanked the Good Samaritan taxi driver who rescued a toddler found wandering the streets of Sunderland during the early hours of the morning.
Part-time driver Mary Cartwright saw the three-year-old boy at the side of the road in Grangetown shortly before 3am on Sunday.
Coun Cartwright, a North East party representative for Eden Hill in Peterlee, told the Echo that the boy was dressed in a Sunderland AFC strip and crying when she spotted him.
It has since emerged that the boy got out of his home while his mother slept.
The family have only recently moved to the area.
Coun Cartwright, 54, had just picked up a couple from Park Lane and was on her way through Grangetown, but she immediately pulled over to help after seeing the distressed youngster.
Recalling the incident, she said: “I saw some movement at the side of the road, and then I realised it was a little boy.
“He was standing there in a Sunderland shirt, little black shorts and socks, sobbing his heart out.
“I said to him ‘hello, I’m Mary’, and he said he was called Tom and was looking for his mammy at the shops.
“So I told him to come into the taxi and I gave him one of the lollipops I keep from my ‘good children’s tin’.”
Coun Cartwright, herself a mum-of-three, called 999 as she sat the youngster in her car.
Her male passenger took his T-shirt off to wrap Tom up in and police soon arrived.
Coun Cartwright then handed Tom over to the two officers before she continued with her customers.
Chief inspector Dave Willet, of Northumbria Police, said: “At 2.43am on Sunday, police received reports that a three-year-old boy had been found alone in Queen Alexandra Road in Sunderland by a passing taxi driver.
“The boy has recently moved to the area with his family and had woken up in the middle of the night and mistakenly let himself out while his mother slept.
“I would like to thank the taxi driver who did the right thing by contacting police and keeping the boy safe and warm while his mother was contacted and they were reunited.”