DEVOTED mum Sandra Wardle has hardly slept or eaten since she came within a whisper of every parent's nightmare.
Strange men in a red car tried to snatch her three-year-old son from her front garden as she washed dishes just yards away.
"This last week has been hell," said care assistant Sandra, who is too frightened to let her children be identified.
"It actually makes me physically sick thinking about what might have happened.
"I have had to tell the children I've got a tummy bug, and when they see me crying I say I've been chopping onions.
"I can't sleep or eat and I watch them even when they fall asleep on the sofa - I just can't help thinking 'What if?'
Sandra, 26, who lives near The Moss estate in Macclesfield, was washing up at home looking out on her two young children as they played in the front garden.
"It had been raining a lot so they had been in all week," said Sandra.
"Then my five-year-old daughter noticed it had stopped raining and all she wanted to do was go outside.
"My son went to stand at the front gate watching the older boys and girls playing on the corner of the park.
"There is a 6ft hedge round the garden and neither of them are allowed to go outside the gate.
"After about 20 minutes I did notice a red car parked outside but the window was steamed up from the hot water so I couldn't see it properly.
"Then moments later my daughter came running up to the house saying that one of the men in the car had told her to get in the house and had told my son to get in the car.
"She was confused because she didn't understand why men she didn't know were talking like that to her and her brother.
"Luckily my son came straight in behind her.
"I ran out to see if I could see the car but there was nothing there and I hadn't heard it drive away."
Sandra rang the police who turned up within five minutes and combed the area in vain for any sign of the car.
"The police have been brilliant," said Sandra. "But ever since then, every time I see a red car, I wonder if it's them coming back for them.
"You can't be with your kids 24-7 but once something like this has happened you tend to watch them more.
"You can't say to them, 'You're never going out again', but that's what you feel like.
"My children weren't even touched and my life has been hell," she added. "I can't imagine what those parents go through whose children have been harmed.
"I was shaking when I dropped him off at nursery school yesterday and my daughter was reluctant to leave him when she went to school."
Fortunately the toddler seems oblivious to his lucky escape.
"He doesn't realise the seriousness of it. They haven't been out since it happened," said Sandra.
"I will not let them play in the front garden any more."
The police would like to speak to anyone who saw anything suspicious, or who can offer any information about the red car and the three men in it. It was parked near the Moss Estate at around 4pm on Wednesday, October 23 and would have been driven off at speed.