Mum escapes punishment after putting hash before her kids


By Michael MacLeod

A SHAMED Scots mum who neglected her four “street urchin” children while immaculate cannabis plants grew in her home walked free from court today (Thurs).
The four children – aged between 10 and seven – were forced to live in squalor while their father grew tended cannabis plants in a cupboard in their grubby Edinburgh home.

The youngsters were discovered sleeping on the floor covered by dirty bed sheets.

When police entered the filthy flat, they called in social workers who immediately took the neglected kids into care.

Their faces were so dirty that police said they resembled “street urchins.”

Meanwhile a dozen cannabis plants – hand-reared from seed – enjoyed daily watering and plush conditions to grow hash for their 36 year-old father.

The illegal plants had fans and heat lights to keep them at their optimum temperature for growing.

The dad has since been ordered to do 100 hours of community service for cannabis cultivation, while the 48-year-old mum previously admitted wilful neglect of her two boys and two girls.

She was due to be sentenced at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday – six months after admitting neglect.

But Sheriff Frank Crowe admonished her after hearing that the family have since been re-homed.

He warned her that if the youngsters’ living conditions deteriorate again, there could be “drastic consequences” for the parents, who cannot be named for fear of identifying the children.

“Extremely dirty”

Court was previously told how police were called to the family address on April 21 last year investigating complaints about the anti-social behaviour of their nine-year-old son.

Fiscal depute Gillian More said the police were horrified when they were confronted by a stinking and grubby home.

Ms More said: “Both officers observed that the house was extremely dirty and smelt strongly of filth.

“It appeared that the living room had been in this condition for some time due to the dirt and filth that had formed.

“The windows of the living room were covered with dirty blankets acting as make-shift curtains. As such the room was dark and dingy even in daylight.”

The children’s mum admitted that she had not provided her kids with sleeping accommodation and Ms More said it seemed they had been sleeping on the couch and the dirty floor of the filthy living room.

Ms More said: “Both police officers observed that the children were very dirty. The girls in particular had matted hair and very dirty faces and had the appearance of street urchins.”

But their mother seemed “totally indifferent and unconcerned” when the officers confronted her about her son’s behaviour.

The officers found and seized 12 herbal cannabis plants from a cupboard in the master-bedroom.

A social worker who had been called stayed at the address with police until the eldest child – a 10-year-old boy – returned home before taking all four into care.

“Clearly not coping”

The mother was taken to St Leonard’s Police Station and interviewed before being arrested. The father was also detained after he turned up at the station asking about his wife.

They admitted they had been staying at the home for about two years but said the father had moved out the month before the incident came to light.

Yesterday, lawyer Jim Stephenson said the mum was struggling to control the four young children when the police showed up.

He said: “The father had been away at that point and she was clearly not coping well on her own.

“She has since been re-housed and has the Children and Families Unit working very well with her and the children, who are now back in her care.”

Sheriff Crowe told her: “You lost your tenancy and put the whole family under terrific strain.

“I am prepared to admonish you, as you have kept out of trouble over the past six months.

“You do now have this conviction on your record and if similar cases come to light it could have drastic consequences for you and your family.”

See more of our pictures at our Flickr site and videos at our dedicated channel,  Deadline TV.