A distraught mother said she is 'disgusted' with the AA after it refused help when her baby was trapped inside her car.

Nicola Millar, 36, of Westward Road in Chingford, was left in tears yesterday afternoon after her 17-month-old daughter was locked inside her car for up to 45 minutes.

The mother-of-one had been shopping at Morrisons in Chingford Mount Road when she locked her car by accident while trying to fold up a pram.

Mrs Millar then shut her boot with her keys inside without realising she had pressed the lock button on her key fob.   

Panicking and in tears, Mrs Miller flagged down van driver James King as he was pulling out of the car park.

The 57-year-old carpenter, of Winns Terrace in Walthamstow, contacted the AA for help as he has full membership.

The pair was told that unless the mother paid for an annual membership costing £150 over the phone, they would not help her.

She said: "I was told I needed to make the payment first over the phone. I told them I couldn’t as my purse and was in the car.

"They then asked me to ring someone I knew to make the payment, again I told them I couldn’t because I didn’t know any numbers off by heart and my phone was locked in the car.

"At this point, they said they couldn’t help me. I was disgusted by their response, it’s not as if I was going to knock them, I was desperate."

After 45 minutes, Mr King smashed the back passenger seat window and used a piece of lead pipe to fish the keys from the boot.

Mr King says he has been let down by the AA.

"It is absolutely disgusting. If anything, they should have come out and done something using my membership but they totally refused.

"This poor woman was really upset and it was out-of-order for them to leave this woman in tears whilst her 17 month old girl is crying in the back seat."

A spokesman for the AA  has apoligised for the 'unfortunate' response.

"In these circumstances we would normally send out a patrol car and if a driver is not a member of the AA, we can sort out the administration afterwards.

"We do have procedures in place to offer a service to a non AA member and it is unfortunate what has happened.

"We are sorry for any distress this may have caused to the mother and the child and I don't know why someone did not attend in the first place.

"We receive thousands of calls regarding people or animals being trapped and I would urge that if it is an emergency to contact the police of fire brigade."