A little boy with autism escaped from a nursery and was filmed running along a busy road.

Terrifying dashcam footage shows Charlie Heslop, 4, running between cars in the middle of the street in Gateshead.

Thankfully, he was spotted by drivers who stopped their vehicles, while one man chased after him.

He leaves his van and hurtles after the boy in his high-vis jacket, scooping him up before he gets to the even busier road in the distance.

Charlie’s mother, Rachael, 28, said staff at 2nd Home Childcare centre initially told her he had run away from teachers and was found near the car park.

But she realised just how bad it could have been after making an appeal for footage on social media.

Rachael 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 him as he continued to run along the middle of the road towards oncoming traffic on Harlow Green Lane.

‘Once he stopped him, he started to walk him back along to the nursery which is when two of the children’s centre staff came out as they’d seen Charlie run out the gate.

CCTV shows toddler escaping nursery and being chased down road

‘They then took him back to nursery staff without exchanging conversation with the guys to find out what happened, or say thank you.’

Furious Rachael 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 got 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.’

Rachael 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.

‘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.’

Rachael added: ‘We were so lucky. I honestly think if it wasn’t for the guys running after Charlie… he probably would have got to the end of the road and been hit by a passing car.’

A spokeswoman for the nursery said: ‘We are carrying out an investigation and are unable to make further comment at the moment.’

A Gateshead Council spokesperson said 2nd Home Childcare leases space in Chowdene Children’s Centre.

She added: ‘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.

‘Ofsted have been informed about this incident and will undertake an investigation.’

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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