A boy, aged 11 or 12, boarded a bus in slippers and a dressing gown on Saturday night in a “distressed state”, with police launching an urgent appeal to trace the youngster.
Nottinghamshire Police were called at around 10.15pm after the boy boarded a bus heading towards Derby.
Officers said he told the bus driver he had been staying with friends in the Stapleford area of Nottinghamshire and was heading towards Chaddesden in Derby, but was seen to get off the bus near the Old Rock pub and began to walk back towards Nottingham.
CCTV images of the boy, wearing a black Puma hoodie under the dressing gown, were released by police in the early hours of Sunday.
Police said it was believed he did not have access to money and it is thought that the battery in the mobile phone he was carrying had run out.