Four-year-old girl found wandering the streets after leaving her playgroup unnoticed

The girl was found on Belgrave Road, in Longton, two streets away from her class
The girl was found on Belgrave Road, in Longton, two streets away from her class - Pete Stonier/Stoke Sentinel/BPM Media

An investigation has been launched after a four-year-old girl escaped from her playgroup unnoticed and was found wandering the streets.

The girl was attempting to cross a busy road in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, when she was spotted by her cousin, who alerted Annisa Hussain, the girl’s mother.

Ms Hussain had been on her way to collect her daughter from the class, run by Splat Staffordshire, an after-school and weekend playgroup, at Dresden Scout Hut at 7.25pm on May 10.

The child had been attending a playgroup in Dresden Scout Hut before she went missing
The child had been attending a playgroup in Dresden Scout Hut before she went missing - Pete Stonier/Stoke Sentinel/BPM Media

The 33-year-old mother said that when she asked whether staff had known that her daughter had left the class, a Splat employee replied: “No.”

“She doesn’t understand the dangers of the road,” Ms Hussain told StokeonTrentLive. “She can’t cross the road on her own. Even when I’m with her, I have to hold her hand because she will just run into the road.

“I got my daughter and walked up to the Scout hall. There was a member of staff letting all the children out with their parents. I asked: ‘Did you know that my daughter has just left this place?’ And they said: ‘No.’ How can you not know that a four-year-old has just walked out of your premises?

“I couldn’t stay calm. Longton is now a dangerous area, with the shootings going on a couple of days ago,” she added.

‘She woke up twice crying in the night’

Ms Hussain said she did not know how long her daughter had been wandering the streets alone. She was found on Belgrave Road, two streets away from her class on Wise Street.

She added: “My daughter has never had any nightmares before. She woke up twice crying in the middle of the night.”

The incident was reported to Splat Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent city council and the Scouts.

An investigation has since been launched by Splat and Dresden Scout Group has cancelled the group’s tenancy.

Lilian Dodd, the Scout group chairman, said: “The parents have reported it to the city council. That has gone to the safeguarding team within children’s services to deal with.”

‘Full internal investigation’

According to its website, Splat sessions are child-only sessions. It stipulates that children must be collected by an adult, but if the child is over 10 years old, they are “allowed to leave the session on their own with the permission of a parent/guardian”.

Splat says that all staff are DBS-checked, first aid-trained and come with safeguarding qualifications to “ensure children are kept safe at all times”.

A spokesman for the group said: “We are conducting a full internal investigation; once we have finalised our findings, any suggested improvements or corrective measures will be implemented. Ms Hussain was contacted by Splat the same night of the incident and our internal investigation started the following morning. We are dealing with this in line with our relevant policies and procedures. If anyone does have information on this matter then we urge them to get in touch with us.

“We will be happy to share our findings once this internal investigation is complete. We want to reassure parents whose children attend our weekly sessions that our doors remain locked throughout the session and staff ratios to children are met. We are prepared to deal with the matter openly and honestly. We are investigating and will share the findings in due course.”

The Telegraph has approached Stoke-on-Trent city council for comment.