NEW statistics have shown seven babies born in Worcester between 2004 and 2012 died as a result of ‘cot death’.

The figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed 0.59 babies out of every 1,000 died unexpectedly over the eight-year period – slightly above the national average of 0.4 per 1,000.

Only one baby born in the Malvern Hills area died unexpectedly during the same period, along with four in Wychavon - or 0.39 per 1,000.

Across the West Midlands as a whole there were 264 unexplained infant deaths between 2004 and 2012, or 0.42 per 1,000.

The highest rate was seen in the North West, where there were 0.54 deaths per 1,000 birth, with London and the East of England joint lowest at 0.32 per 1,000.

Figures for beyond 2012 are not yet available as unexplained deaths have to be certified by a coroner, which can delay the registration of a death.