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'Hero' found baby boy in long grass

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A beach worker has spoken of the moment he found a baby boy lying in the sand dunes.

Howard Swallow was working in a digger on the beach at St Annes when he saw an empty car seat and bag by the side of the road – and spotted blond hair among the long grass around 50 to 60 metres away at around 1.15pm on Wednesday.

The boy’s parents were later arrested on suspicion of neglect.

Mr Swallow, 50, who lives in nearby Norwood Road, cared for the infant, – described by police as just under a year old – until police arrived, and said he fears for what would have happened if he hadn’t felt the need to look around.

He said: “I can’t stop thinking about his little eyes, and his arms reaching out – if I had not come across him, I don’t know what would have happened. It was not a picnic area, he was in the bushes in the grass.”

Mr Swallow, who works on a digger for William Rainford Holdings, said the boy was in clean clothes and a clean nappy, and was not crying when he spotted him.

He dialled 999 and talked with the operator as he tried to comfort him, before hanging up the phone and waiting for officers to arrive.

“As soon as I picked him up, he was just nestled into me,” Mr Swallow said.

“I’m a 50-year-old guy who uses a digger for a living and I’m quite hardened, but this has levelled me. I should be ecstatic but I’m so upset for the lad. If he could have talked, he would have said, ‘Thank you’.”

An emotional Facebook post by Mr Swallow was shared thousands of times, and saw him praised by people across the world, which he said was ‘humbling’.

Michelle McCabe told him: “You’ve done an amazing thing and you are a fab human being.”

Alisha Bryer-Jones said: “Thank God you decided to go and look around to investigate. You’re literally his hero.”

Karen Martyniuk added: “Maybe one day that grown up child will come back and say a huge thank you.”

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said the infant was ‘being looked after’.

His parents were ‘traced shortly afterwards and were arrested on suspicion of neglect’, the force added.

They are a 29-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man. In an update, a spokeswoman yesterday said they had been released under investigation.