Political leaders and councillors have combined to voice their disbelief at the “horrific news”.

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins described the death as “awful and tragic”. He said: “The death of anyone is tragic, but for someone so young to lose their life in this way is simply horrific.

“My sincere thoughts and sympathies go to the little boy’s family and friends, who are now having to cope with their terrible loss.”

Town mayor, Councillor George Metcalf, who lives in Valley Close, not far from the scene of the incident, said: “It’s tragic for a child so young to die, and I’m devastated for the mother and other family members. To think what they must be going through.”

Keighley town councillor, Lionel Lockley, whose Bracken Bank and Ingrow ward includes Harewood Road, said: “I was shocked and stunned when I heard – I just couldn’t believe it.

“You don’t expect this sort of thing to happen, not to a four-year-old child. I feel awful for the family.”

A parish councillor, who has lived in Harewood Road for two years, described the child’s death as “horrible”. Barry Thorne, who sits on Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, said: “It’s just unbelievable – it’s quiet up here and very friendly.

“There are quite a few residents who are on supported living, and over-55s like us. We love living here.

“You don’t expect to wake up one morning and see loads of police outside, some of them with guns.”

Keighley West Labour councillor, Keith Dredge, who lives less than a mile away from Harewood Road, said: “It’s nothing short of a tragedy.

“As a council, one of our primary concerns is safeguarding the welfare of children. That is a priority in our work as councillors.

“It’s just a tragedy. A four-year-old; I’m just shocked.”

Ward colleague, Coun Jan Smithies, shared people’s disbelief and hoped the community wouldn’t be “labelled” as a result of what happened.

“We don’t want the community stigmatised – this could have taken place anywhere,” she added.