A taxi driver was arrested after he got behind the wheel of an ambulance answering an emergency call and moved it to make way for his own vehicle.

Officers attended the incident after the ambulance crew reported their vehicle had been driven away from outside an address in Pevensey Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, as they were preparing to take a one-month-old baby to hospital yesterday.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "They reported at 12.40am that a taxi driver had objected to the road being temporarily obstructed, so he had just got into their ambulance and drove it a short distance up the road, before driving away in his own taxi.

"The ambulance crew retrieved their vehicle and took the baby to hospital.

"A 64-year-old came to the police station of his own accord a short while later and was arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent, and obstructing an emergency worker contrary to the Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006."

He said the man was bailed until August 31 pending further inquiries.

A South East Coast Ambulance Service spokeswoman said one of its crews was responding to an emergency call where a five-week-old baby girl was suffering from breathing problems.

After retrieving the vehicle, the ambulance technicians took the baby to Eastbourne District General Hospital for further assessment where she remained overnight before being discharged.

James Pavey, senior operations manager for the area, said: "Our clinicians could have been dealing with a very poorly baby.

"Until an assessment of a patient is carried out, we need to treat all emergencies with the same level of urgency.

"With any emergency, it is vital that ambulance staff have easy access to the vehicle so they can not only transfer the patient to the ambulance quickly but also have access to the necessary equipment and drugs should they require them.

"We recognise that it can be frustrating when an ambulance is forced to block a road, but we would ask the public to remember that this is only being done to ensure we get to those who need our help quickly."