Taxi driver saves three-year-old from wandering the streets alone at 2.50am .

HERO ... Mary Cartwright who rescued a lost three-year-old boy found wandering the streets in the early hours of the morning
HERO ... Mary Cartwright who rescued a lost three-year-old boy found wandering the streets in the early hours of the morning
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A HERO taxi driver rescued a three-year-old boy found wandering in a Sunderland street in the early hours.

Coun Mary Cartwright, a part-time driver for Wayside Taxis, spotted the tot crying at the side of Ryhope Road at 2.50am today

The 54-year-old had just picked up a couple from Park Lane and was on her way through Grangetown, but she immediately pulled over to help after spotting the child.

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 told him to come into the taxi and I gave him one of the lollipops I keep from my ‘good children’s tin’.”

The 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.

It’s understood the boy was reunited with his mother, who had been asleep throughout the drama, at 4.40am.

The clever youngster had managed to spot some familiar surroundings and led the police to his house.

Coun Cartwright, who is a North East Party representative for Eden Hill in Peterlee, said: “The police called me back to say Tom was back with his mum.

“By all accounts he was sharing a bed with his mum, woke up and wandered downstairs, he then thought she’d gone to the shops, so let himself out of the back door.

“His poor mother was oblivious to it all, the first she knew of it was when the police were knocking at her door.

“It was absolutely freezing, it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened if he’d curled himself up in a shop doorway, or if someone less genuine had picked him up, I am glad I found him.

“It all turned out alright in the end.”