CHILDREN whose drunk mum was arrested at their west Cumbrian home in the early hours told police: “Drinking's normal - and she’s likely not to remember what happened.”

The youngsters' response was described during a sentencing hearing at Carlisle Crown Court after the woman involved admitted three allegations of child cruelty.

The offending came to light in September 2022 after concerned neighbours who heard shouting and screaming coming from the house contacted the police.

When the police officers arrived at her home at 1.45am, they found the woman “intoxicated,” slurring her words and seemingly unable to understand why they were there. One of the woman’s children was sitting at the top of the stairs, crying.

All the children seemed “scared” of their mother and there were clothes everywhere and dirty nappies. The prosecutor said there was not much food in the house and the children confirmed that they had eaten only toast that day.

In the kitchen, police found a rolled-up bank note and a white powder, as well as empty alcohol cans and bottles.

Police also noticed unusual sleeping arrangements at the house, with one child using a mattress on the floor and another sharing the mother’s bed while they waited for a new bed to be built.

“The defendant was arrested at 2am but insisted she could not leave the house and she needed to take the kids,” said the prosecutor.

She took hold of one child while she was being placed in handcuffs.

When she was interviewed, the woman, who is in her 30s but cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted drinking vodka and a can of lager. She denied being drunk when the police arrived.

She said that there was frozen food in the house and that she had cooked three meals for the children the day before. She claimed she drank only once every week, usually consuming between one and four cans of lager.

Sean Harkin, defending, said that in the 18 months or so since the defendant was arrested her life had changed considerably.

“Things are very different now,” he said. “She’s addressing the reason for her offending behaviour and the children remain in her care. They were the subject of a child protection plan but that is no longer the case.

"There is no Children’s Services involvement at all and that speaks volumes for the progress that has been made.”

Recorder Julian Shaw said the case involved a situation that was more typically put before a family court.

It involved a mother attempting to cope with a number of children but succumbing to alcohol and, no doubt, drugs in an attempt to cope, possibly with older children “parenting” their siblings and their mother.

He noted that the children had not been properly fed and the “tragic description” of one child that “it was normal and mum won’t remember.”

He imposed a 16-month jail term suspended for two years. The woman must undergo 120 days of alcohol abstinence, complete 20 rehabilitation activity days, and an eight-month overnight curfew.