A Wearside mum who was too drunk to care for her son and nephew while on a camping holiday has been given a suspended prison sentence.
The woman, who is in her 30s and cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at North and West Cumbria Magistrates’ Court after she was found at a Lake District holiday park with her toddler-age child and nephew.
The hearing was told how police officers intervened to protect the two youngsters after being tipped off that the woman, from the Sunderland area, was too drunk to care for them pair while at Park Foot Caravan and Camping Park, in Pooley Bridge, near Ullswater.
The grandmother of the toddler called police at around 6pm on Saturday, May 23, to say the toddler’s father was concerned by a phone call from the woman as she sounded drunk.
After officers made a further visit to the site around 9.45pm, they shouted the defendant’s name and the older boy, her nephew, crawled out of the family’s tent sobbing and saying he wanted to go home because his aunty was drunk.
On first peering into the tent, officers could not see the toddler, but he then emerged from under a duvet.
Prosecutor John Moran told district judge Gerald Chalk the woman admitted to officers she had “drunk four-pints of lager” at the bar on the site before going to bed.
She also said she had watched the children play in shallow water at the lakeside earlier in the day.
Officers noticed the zip on the tent entrance was broken, and told her this was a danger the younger child could have crawled out,
The woman said she hadn’t realised the zip was broken, the court was told.
The defendant said she was “sorry” when asked by officers if she was in a position to safeguard the children while they were in the water, adding that she “wouldn’t have been able to drive”. The court was told the woman had a history of drink-related offences, including two convictions for drink-driving.
She pleaded guilty to two offences of child neglect, one for each child in her care, when she appeared at a previous hearing earlier this month.
Sara Budniak, on behalf of the defendant, said she was dealing with the break-up of her relationship and also works full-time day and night shifts.
“She admits she had too much to drink, but she had no intention to neglect the children,” said Ms Budniak.
“She was completely co-operative with the authorities. On the day she had nothing to eat and this did not help her. She has not drank alcohol since the incident, and is getting advice on her drinking habits.”
Passing sentence, Mr Chalk told the woman: “These offences passed the custodial threshold.
“When watching any child you have to have eyes in the back of your head especially when you were in an alien environment.”
The woman was sentenced to 70-days custody for each offence, suspended for one year.
She will attend a 35-day rehabilitation programme run by the Probation Service and has been ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85 and a victim’s surcharge of £80, plus costs of £180.