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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Tantrum child shut in family car
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann went missing in May
A mother who reprimanded her daughter by locking her in the family car for several minutes received a visit from the police.

Ruth Ball, 24, used the punishment on four-year-old Leigha after she started screaming in a newsagents.

The next day Ms Ball, from Luton, was told by police the treatment was inappropriate, despite the fact she was stood near the car with her son.

On Thursday Beds Police confirmed an officer visited Ms Ball's address.

Ms Ball said officers had stressed the treatment was even more inadvisable in the light of toddler Madeleine McCann's disappearance in Portugal.

Even the police officer said he didn't see the point in him being here
Mother Ruth Ball

The care assistant told the Daily Mail: "I'm deeply sorry for what has happened to Madeleine, but why should I let my daughter get away with things because she was abducted?

"I am trying to raise two decent human beings. Kids learn young. If they learn now that kicking, hitting and screaming gets what they want, what are they going to do when they're adults?"

Ms Ball said she was shocked that officers - who had received a call from a concerned member of the public - had visited her at home.

Ms Ball said: "Even the police officer said he didn't see the point in him being here."

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said: "We received a call from a member of the public who was concerned for the safety of a young girl she had seen being put into a car.

Welfare of child

"We attended the address of the owner and it transpired the child, who was happy with no injuries, had been put in the car after having a tantrum in the shop.

"During a conversation between the officer and the mother she mentioned she had briefly returned to the shop to collect her shopping.

"The officer realised this meant the child was temporarily alone and used the reference to Madeleine to illustrate this was a risk she should be considering.

"If Ms Ball is concerned with what happened, or what was said, she is very welcome to contact us."

Madeleine, four, disappeared from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal on 3 May.




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Police told Ruth Ball the way she disciplined her daughter was inappropriate



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