But the search was quickly resolved when the boy – called CJ – was found – sleeping peacefully after hiding under the pillows in his own bed.
Mum Lavina Atieno said she was panicked after she found the boy’s scooter outside and he repeatedly failed to answer calls of his name.
The 28-year-old said: ‘His scooter was outside. Usually he doesn’t leave it outside so we thought he’s gone outside to get his scooter and someone has taken him.
‘I called the police after half an hour of searching and the operator said are you sure you have checked the cupboards, have you checked behind the sofa. I was shouting his name at the top of my voice.
‘I thought I was going to die – I thought I was never going to see my son again.’
Officers who attended the house conducted a thorough search of the property – and spotted the youngster’s left foot sticking out from under the pillows on his bed, revealing the boy fast asleep while commotion carried on around him.
Mum Lavina said she was embarrassed the family had failed to spot CJ – but police told the panicked mother that they were often called out to missing children who
The 28-year-old said: ‘The officers say it happens a lot. Some times they hid in the cupboards, sometimes they are hiding around the house.
‘When I told CJ when he woke up, he was just smiling.
‘I have marked the date on the calendar to remind him when he’s older and will understand all the commotion he caused.’
A social media message from Hampshire Constabulary expressed ‘a big thank’ to the large number of neighbours who came out to help.
Lavina added: ‘I was so appreciative for the community and the police. I felt like an inconvenience, but the police said no, it’s always best to call. Better safe than sorry.’