A mother-of-two experienced her “worst fear” when someone tried to snatch her two-year-old son from her side in a busy high street.

Little Kyle Hammond from South Oxhey was having lunch in Watford town centre with his family when a stranger grabbed his arm and tried to walk off with him at 1pm, on September 7.

The toddler had just left Greggs bakery with his godfather, his mother Leanne and his sister Lexie, aged one, and was about to go to Watford General Hospital for blood tests.

It was at this moment a woman stepped from the crowd seizing the two-year-old by the arm and began walking away with him.

Kyle’s mother, Leanne, aged 20, said: “It was horrible. I am glad their godfather was with me because I wouldn’t have known what to do. I was scared of losing one child if I chased after the other.

“We left Greggs and started walking the wrong way so we stopped and turned around. We were trying to get Kyle to follow us when this woman grabbed him.

“It was really spontaneous. There was a crowd of people there, this woman was walking in the crowd and she just grabbed the top of his arm and started walking off with him.”

Kyle and Leanne Hammond

Watford Observer:

Leanne said when Kyle’s godfather stepped in and confronted the woman she just smirked and laughed before walking off towards the Intu shopping centre, adding: “That’s a bit strange and the thing that scared us the most.”

Afterwards, Leanne said the family were left in shock and Kyle was “confused” about what had happened to him, but otherwise unharmed.

She added: “I’ve heard about this sort of thing before and it’s scary. As a parent it’s like your worst fear and everyone reads stories about it saying they would know what to do.

“But in the moment, you’re that scared you’re just frozen and can’t do anything.”

Leanne said the incident has left her fearful of leaving her home. She reported her case to the police.

“I am dreading going out on my own again. I won’t leave my flat now, it has just scared me about going out.

“What I want is for the police to find the CCTV and get her of the streets. If we did that I’d be a bit more relaxed. But right now, I’m worried she might be there again. I am still shaken. Even when I’m not in that area, I worry,” she said.

Police confirmed they are investigating the “suspicious” incident in Lower High Street involving a black woman around 5ft 3in tall and of large build. She was wearing a long, bright pink coat at the time.

Inspector Simon Mason, from the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We understand that this incident will cause concern among the community. However, I would like to reassure residents that we are making the relevant enquiries in order to establish the circumstances.

“If you witnessed what happened or saw a woman matching the description in the area, please call 101 quoting crime reference 41/34720/18.”