Children in filth after drug-user mother sold house’s pipework

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A POLICEMAN found two young children in horrific conditions in their home after their drug-taking mother had removed and sold the boiler and copper pipework so there was no gas or water into the house.

Complaints had already been made to social services about the state of the property in March after a housing officer attended and noted a “repugnant smell”.

The mother refused to allow access to the rest of the house in Leeds, but it was noted she was not “interacting” with the children, both aged under two.

When no improvement was made and complaints continued about the property, a policeman visited with a housing officer in June. They knocked for about five minutes and could hear a dog barking and a child crying and were about to force an entry when they were let in.

Kama Melly, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday they found the property damaged inside with the water tank and all copper piping having been removed, which meant some floorboards had been lifted. The damage was later assessed at £8,000.

Because there was no running water into the toilet cistern it did not flush and was blocked with excrement. The officer saw empty cider bottles lying around, there was mould growing on the kitchen surfaces and dog excrement around.

There was very little food on the premises and when he opened the fridge it contained nothing fit for human consumption.

All the occupants appeared to be sleeping in one room and in another bedroom he found 20 cannabis plants.

The children were not injured but were not clean as there were no washing facilities available.

Miss Melly told the court the mother, who cannot be identified to protect the children, was also found to have broken into other houses and removed the pipes which had been sold.

Theresa Clark, representing the mother, told the court she accepted the house had been in an appalling state because her priority had always been amphetamine but she did love the children and would take them to family homes for washing and meals.

Fortunately they had not suffered physically and they were now being cared for by her family. At the time, she was desperately trying to raise a £600 bond to move house and had been told that was the amount she could expect for growing the cannabis.

The mother, aged 31, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after admitting neglect, producing cannabis and stealing copper piping. She also asked for 11 other offences to be taken into consideration involving theft of piping and damage valued at a further £8,000.

The court heard she has since had another child which she had given up for adoption.

Her partner, 33, who admitted neglect of his two children was jailed for 18 months.

Richard Reed, representing him, said he had been absent much of the time but accepted when he drank heavily his attitude to the house became apathetic.

Jailing the pair, Judge James Spencer, QC, said they shared a responsibility for the children but had decided they had other priorities. The man wanted to drink, while the mother “wanted to drink and take amphetamines”.

“And as a consequence the standards which you two generally adopted for your household were disgraceful,” he said.

“The house remained a danger to anyone who lived there and living there throughout the whole of this time of your selfishness were these two young children.

“I’m relieved beyond words these children were not physically damaged.”