A mother yesterday thanked the quick-thinking crew of a broken-down ambulance that managed to get to the aid of her sick toddler - despite being on the back of a recovery truck.

Gemma Noakes, aged 25, a single mother from Heath Hayes, near Cannock, Staffordshire, dialled 999 when her 18-month-old son Harvey had trouble breathing.

The toddler, who was born with a hole in his heart and chronic lung disease, had turned blue and was vomiting.

Mrs Noakes called for help - and within a minute a breakdown truck with the ambulance on the back arrived at her doorstep.

The crew from Staffordshire Ambulance Service immediately fetched their equipment from the back of the ambulance and began treating Harvey.

A second ambulance arrived minutes later and took the toddler to Staffordshire General Hospital in Stafford, where he was checked over and later discharged.

Ambulance mechanic Martin Corley, who drove the recovery vehicle, said: "I had gone out to recover the broken-down ambulance and its crew when we heard through the radio that a baby was seriously ill about 500 metres away.

"Even though we knew another ambulance had been called, we were the nearest and could get there the quickest. It is an unusual way to get to an incident, but the main thing is that we got there quickly to help."