A MOTHER left her children locked in the house with no food in 'absolutely appalling' living conditions, a court heard.

The woman was living in Ulverston with her four children, the youngest of whom was six, among faeces, urine and mould, the court was told.

Neither the mother or the children can be named for legal reasons.

Police were alerted to the situation by neighbours because the children had been left at home without food, South Cumbria Magistrates' Court was told.

Prosecutor Lee Dacre said a neighbour saw one of the children at an open window at the house 'calling for his mum'.

The child was said to have told the neighbour: 'I'm really hungry - there's no food in the house'.

The neighbour discussed passing a sandwich through the letterbox but the child said the family dog was in front of the door.

Mr Dacre said when the mother returned she looked out the window and said to her son: 'What's she been saying?', before 'smirking' and closing the window.

When police visited the home it was in 'disarray' with mould found in the fridge, an 'unusable' bathroom and a dirt-ridden microwave used to make meals for the children 'every night'.

The prosecutor said it was 'absolutely appalling conditions for children to be living in'.

He said the mother had shown 'deliberated disregard' for the welfare of her children.

"It's serious neglect in my view," he said. There's no excuse for this."

The court heard the mum had been cautioned by police for a similar offence in 2021.

"She failed completely to heed the warnings of that caution," Mr Dacre said.

In mitigation, Leah Kirk said the defendant had suffered with mental health since she was a teenager and was in the process of being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

"As a result she has struggled with the children," she said.

"She accepts her wrongdoing and accepts that she needed help.

"She states that during the last year she struggled particularly with her eldest child, who has been in and out of the police station quite often.

"She says she understands the state of the house is not great at all.

"She was trying to get a new house.

"She understands and does care for these children."

Ms Kirk said the children had been placed with a family member and had some contact with their mother.

"The children still want her in their lives," she said.

The mum admitted three counts of child neglect.

Magistrates decided the case was too serious to be sentenced in that court and sent it to Preston Crown Court.

She could be jailed when she faces the court on October 28.