Dad jailed after children kept in faeces-covered house in Lancashire

A father has been jailed after his four children had to be rescued from a house where the walls were covered in excrement.

Police found a screaming girl trapped under a bed frame and said the youngsters, all under the age of five, were like "zombies" because they were so thirsty and hungry.

The children lived in "feral and dangerous" conditions at the house in Leyland, Lancashire.

A baby wearing only a nappy was found in a bouncer a few feet from a halogen heater, and two toddlers were discovered in a bedroom with excrement smeared on walls and soiled bedding.

Their parents, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children, each admitted four counts of child neglect when they appeared at Preston Crown Court.

The 23-year-old father was jailed for 14 months and the mother, 29, received a 14-month jail sentence which was suspended for two years with a rehabilitation order.

The court heard the family came to the notice of the authorities in October 2015 but the children were put back into the care of their parents.

Police only came across the youngsters by chance when they were looking for someone in connection with an unrelated matter.

Officers were left retching by the stench inside the house and found the children dirty, dishevelled and wearing only nappies or T-shirts.

Amanda Hatton, director of children's services at Lancashire County Council, said: "The family were referred to the local authority for the first time when the police initially visited the property.

"At that point we secured placements for the children outside the family home.

"We put this matter before a family court and recommended that the children be looked after away from the family home with extended family as their permanent placement.

"However, the family court did not agree with this position and the children were placed back in the care of their parents with the local authority undertaking close monitoring of the case.

"We are now working with extended family members to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of the children."