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Car with sleeping toddler inside towed from clearway as mum allegedly eats at a nearby cafe.

Mamamia Mamamia 12/05/2016 Shauna Anderson

It has been revealed that a mother may have deliberately left her toddler inside her four-wheel drive that was then towed from a clearway while she went to have a meal at a nearby café.

Yesterday towing company Nationwide Towing and Transport came under fire when it was reported one of their drivers towed away a vehicle parked in a Brunswick clearway, in Melbourne with a three-year-old child asleep inside.

Nationwide Towing and Transport operations manager Mark Beverage told 3AW that the driver had been unable to see the child because of the four-wheel-drive’s dark tinted windows.

He said the car had been in the clearway for about 15 minutes before it was loaded on the back of a flat-top truck.

Mr Beverage told Neil Mitchell part of the company’s procedure was to take photos of the vehicle and check if there were any people or animals inside.

"In this case the car had very dark tinted windows and you could see through the front windows and just see blankets in the back. The child was unfortunately asleep under the blankets," he said.

Fifteen minutes down the road the driver had a call from dispatch after the mother of the car had reported her vehicle missing with her child inside.

A police operation had begun after the mother returned to find her car, and child missing, with fears the car had been stolen she contacted police.

Mr Beverage told Neil Mitchell the driver, now stopped on the side of the road again checked the back of the car through the windows but still could only see blankets. When police arrived and they finally opened the car they found the child.

It has now been reported that witnesses have said the back windows were deliberately obscured by the child’s mother before she left the vehicle, so that the sleeping child in the backseat would not be seen by passerbys.

Nine News reports that footage has revealed the mother hanging a sheet and a jumper to cover the back windows of the Toyota Prado.

The mother has claimed she only parked in the clearway zone for a few minutes to use the bathroom in a restaurant, but according to witnesses Nine News spoke to she was there for more than 30 minutes and had gone into the café to eat a meal.

Security vision provided to Nine News has shown that nine minutes after first leaving her car to enter the nearby Fahita's Restaurant the mother and a teenager returned to check on the sleeping child in the backseat, but then left again confident the child was still asleep.

Twenty minutes later the family returned to find the car missing.

Police had initially said they had cleared the mother of any wrongdoing but last night said in a statement they would investigate.

"As a result of information received, Fawkner Police will be conducting an investigation into what, if any, criminal offences have occurred following an incident in Brunswick."

Mr Beverage said the incident was "very upsetting" for the driver, but that the company followed all procedures.

"Even once we were aware that there was a child in the car it was still very hard to identify … I don't really feel like the driver could have done anymore to check if there was a child in there," Mr Beverage said.

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