Police in Northumberland were stunned when they stopped a man for driving with a toddler tied to the back of his van with rope.
Their astonishment reached new heights when the unnamed man, located in a fish and chip shop while leaving the toddler unattended in the back of the van, failed to understand that he had done anything wrong.
The man had driven to to collect coal at a nearby beach and had even loaded up the back of the van beside the young boy with coal and other debris which could have crushed or injured him.
One witness told the Sunday Mirror: 'If the driver had slammed the brakes he could have been crushed by bags of coal. But when police questioned ther driver he just said, "What's the problem, he's strapped in" and pointed to the rope. No one could quite believe what they were seeing.'
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: 'The driver was spoken to by the police at the scene and inquiries are ongoing.'
It is an offence punishable with a £500 fine for driving with a child without an appropriate seat belt or restraint.