Police have located a red Skoda Fabia that was stolen by thieves as a five-year-old girl slept in the back.
The car was stolen by three youths in dark tops from outside the Royal Chef takeaway in St Helen Auckland, County Durham, on Friday night while the owner entered the shop to buy food.
The owner, who had left his daughter in the Skoda with the keys in the ignition, was horrified to see the car gone when he came out of the shop and dialled 999.
The little girl was found to be still asleep on the back seat when the car was recovered 10 minutes after it was reported missing.
As the vehicle was found, the owner did not have to involve hiscar insurance firm.
Four teenagers in the 14-17 age group have been arrested by Durham Police in connection with the incident.
DC Mark Forster, from Bishop Auckland CID, said: "This was an extremely distressing incident for the victim who feared for the safety of his young child.
"We are appealing for anyone who might have seen the car being stolen or abandoned to come forward.
"Thankfully we quickly located the car and were able to reunite the victim with his child, who was safe and well and hadn't even woken up during the drama."
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