A newly-born baby who died after being abandoned near a mosque was found with a note asking for help to bury him, police confirmed.

Staffordshire Police, whose handling of the incident is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), said the baby was discovered in a carrier bag which also contained two £10 notes.

The IPCC has launched an independent inquiry into the initial police response to the discovery of the baby, who was not taken to hospital until almost an hour after he was found.

The baby, whose mother has not yet been traced, is thought to have lain undiscovered for at least four hours after being placed on the steps of the Islamic centre in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent.

Detective Chief Inspector Phil Bladen, who is leading the search for the mother, appealed for help from the public to help trace her.

“Finding the baby’s mother and giving her the help and support she undoubtedly needs is our absolute priority,” the officer said.

“I urge anyone with any information to come forward. We have everything in place ready to help her.

“I am sure she is feeling very upset, distressed and frightened. I just need her to contact us.”

The ethnicity of the baby - who was pronounced dead at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire around two hours after being found - has yet to be established.

DCI Bladen added: “The baby boy was wrapped in a carrier bag and two items of clothing, one of which was a white T-shirt.

“The bundle included two £10 notes and a note which said ‘Please help bury him’ and an Arabic word for thank you.”

Detectives wish to speak to anyone who was in the area around the Islamic centre between Friday evening and 6.30am on Saturday, when a witness saw the bundle but did not approach or examine it.

Earlier, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said the baby was found at about 10.40am and had been taken to hospital at about 11.30am.

Staffordshire Police initially informed the media that a baby’s body had been found outside the Islamic centre in Beresford Street, Shelton, although they later said the child had been declared dead in hospital.

An IPCC spokeswoman said: “Staffordshire Police referred the case to the IPCC yesterday and investigators were deployed immediately.

“Following scene assessments, the IPCC has decided to independently investigate the actions of police in their response to the initial calls regarding the baby.”

In a statement, IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “The death of any baby is a tragedy, and this case is deeply saddening.

“It is important that the IPCC independently investigates the initial response by Staffordshire Police to ascertain the actions taken by police to ensure that all correct procedures were followed.

“At this sad time however it is also important to underline that Staffordshire Police will continue to investigate the death and to attempt to trace baby’s mother, which is of primary importance.”