Neighbours went to the aid of an abandoned toddler after he was seen screaming outside a house in Coupar Angus after midnight.
The distraught pre-schooler was “visibly cold” with a dirty nappy and soiled pyjamas.
When concerned residents could not find an adult at the house, they called police.
Farm worker Cristian Macaneata, who was meant to be looking after the child at the time, returned to the property later and told police officers to “keep the noise down” because there was a baby sleeping inside.
The 34-year-old appeared at Perth Sheriff Court and admitted wilfully abandoning the youngster and exposing him to the risk of unnecessary suffering or injury to his health.
Toddler ran into neighbour’s arms
Fiscal depute Erika Watson said: “A neighbour was woken at about midnight on October 12 last year.
“She had been upstairs in bed when she heard the sound of a screaming child from outside.
“Concerned, she got up and looked out of the window.
“She saw a young child standing on the rear doorstep, extremely upset.”
Ms Watson told the court: “At the same time, another neighbour and her daughter were also woken up due to the noise of the child crying.
“They went to investigate because they were concerned about his welfare.”
“Both sets of neighbours met each outside.”
They saw the child repeatedly exiting and entering the property, as if looking for an adult.
The fiscal depute said: “The neighbours went inside but could not find anyone else within.”
Police were contacted, the court heard.
“When a neighbour went into the garden, the child put his arms up and ran into their arms for comfort.
“The neighbour then took the child into her home address.
“She could see he was visibly cold and his nappy was soaked through his pyjama bottoms.
“She wrapped him in a blanket, put the heating on and sat and cuddled him.”
‘There’s a baby sleeping’
Police officers attended and took statements from residents.
They then saw Macaneata walking into the garden, Ms Watson told the court.
He told police: “Keep the noise down, there’s a baby sleeping inside.”
When he was told where the child was, he claimed he had only been gone five minutes.
Police told him he had been away for at least half an hour.
When charged, Macaneata replied: “I’m so sorry about that.”
The fiscal depute said the child was later returned to his mother.
Solicitor Mike Tavendale, defending, said: “This is a matter he very much regrets.
“Effectively, the child was asleep when he left the house to walk his partner to work.
“He was away for longer than anticipated.”
Sheriff Charles Lugton told Macaneata: “This is quite clearly a concerning incident.
“Having said that, you have shown genuine remorse.
“I’m going to proceed on the basis that this was an isolated incident.”
Macaneata, of Strathmore Avenue, Coupar Angus, was fined £400.