Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 15:22 UK

Children left alone in 'squalor'

A mother-of-three whose children were left alone in squalor has been jailed for six months.

The 22-year-old, of Rhyl, Denbighshire, left her young children on their own in a house with dog and human excrement on the walls, Prestatyn magistrates heard.

Police and a social worker found the children only partly clothed in the house, which smelt overwhelmingly of urine and faeces.

The mother had pleaded guilty to three counts of child neglect.

Magistrates heard how most of the rooms in the house also had other waste, including used tampons, lying round. The children were dirty and did not appeared to have been bathed for some time.

District Judge Andrew Shaw said that although he accepted that the mother herself had a sad background involving abuse, he thought that might have made her want a better life for her children.

Prosecutor Tracey Willingham said that despite warnings to the mother that the situation would be monitored, conditions were still the same on the day police officers and a social worker found the children alone.

The mother, who arrived shortly after, explained that she had left her younger sister in charge but she had left.

'Great professionalism'

Ms Willingham said that in contrast to the children, who had since been placed with foster parents, the woman seemed to take care over her own appearance.

Defence solicitor David Jones said his client - whose partner was jailed earlier this year for assaulting her - admitted she lacked parenting skills and had no support from her family. He said she was now accepting help.

Jailing her, the district judge said that at a time when social services department were often criticised for not intervening in such cases, the Denbighshire workers had acted with great professionalism.

Social services had warned the mother about conditions during a visit on 10 March. They visited again on 24 March, but nothing had changed. The children were discovered alone during a third visit on 22 April.

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