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Two toddlers escaped from a nursery with one found wandering alone along the main road.
Management from Busy Bees Nursery has said it is "investigating" an incident which saw two "unsupervised" youngsters leave a site in Plymouth, Devon, on Monday afternoon.
While it is understood one of the children was located very quickly, the other, a three-year-old lad, was spotted by worried strangers walking next to traffic on a busy dual carriageway, PlymouthLive reports.
Devon and Cornwall Police said officers were called to William Prance Road shortly after 11am after receiving reports of a young child "walking on his own".
In a letter to parents, southern operations director for Busy Bees Nurseries, Anita Wilden, said the company is "devastated" by the incident while confirming a "thorough investigation is underway.
She added: "The safety and well-being of all children in our care is our highest priority and we have robust policies in place to ensure situations such as this do not occur.
"Whilst we are relieved that both the children involved are safely back at nursery, we are determined to ensure this cannot happen again.
"We have started our investigation and we will find out how this situation happened. Please be assured that if there are any steps we can make to further improve our procedures we will make those changes."
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Busy Bees Nurseries operates almost 400 nurseries across the UK and Ireland.
Parents of children at the Plymouth nursery say they are "very concerned" the incident was allowed to happen.
One, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "(Following this incident), a lot of parents are very concerned for the welfare of their children at the nursery."
They went on: "One child was missing for over 15 minutes and was brought back by police after a passer-by drove past the child and called the police.
"We have lost all confidence, not with just Busy Bees but all day-care settings."
A spokesperson Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Police were called to William Prance Road in Plymouth just after 11am on Monday, February 8 after receiving reports of a young child seen walking on his own.
"Officers attended and located a three-year-old boy in the area. He was safely returned to the care of an adult a few minutes later."
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