A NELSON youth worker reported an innocent couple to the NSPCC and told Crimestoppers they were plotting heroin smuggling, after a family fall-out, a court heard.

Matthew Sundhu, 31, told the charity that their children were being beaten and left to fend for themselves. He then made a fake complaint to the police, alleging the pair were planning to go to Saudi Arabia and swallow drugs to get them into the country.

Burnley magistrates were told how as a result, social workers turned up the victims’ Nelson home to see if the youngsters were being ill-treated.

The couple, investigated as suspected criminals, were stopped and ‘interrogated’ by customs officers, their luggage was searched and swabs for drugs taken when they flew into Birmingham airport with their children, after a family holiday in Dubai.

But, the couple had not physically abused their children nor broken the law in any way at all and were left traumatised and suffering many sleepless nights after coming under ‘mental attack’ from their relative.

Sundhu, who had started his campaign against the family with a threatening text message was arrested and questioned and owned up. The defendant, of Reedyford Road, Nelson, admitted harassment of the couple, on or between July 29 and August 10, last year.

Sundhu could be facing a custodial sentence, after the court asked for an all options open pre-sentence report. Chairman Stephen Riley, who bailed Sundhu until January 22, warned him nothing was being ruled out.

Graeme Tindall, for Sundhu, who is employed and is a volunteer at a youth club, handed the bench five references, which, he said, spoke of Sundhu’s “positive good character,” and gave a clear indication his behaviour had been “completely out of character.”

There had been a family dispute. The defendant’s mother, who suffered ill health, told him she had been physically manhandled. The solicitor continued: “He was very, very upset about that fact and he reacted in completely the wrong way.”