A POORLY little boy left home alone in Nelson by his father was found by a police community support officer who discovered the back door wide open, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told how the unwell child had only a mattress on the floor in the untidy property. There was little food in the house and the boy had slept in his school uniform.

Police went to the primary school the youngster attended and were told by the deputy headteacher they were concerned about his attendance and general well- being.

The child's father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had returned home, shouted at police and demanded to know where his son was. He had been taken to his school for some breakfast. The dad claimed a neighbour had been looking after the boy, but, the hearing was told, it wasn't true.

The defendant, 48, had earlier admitted child neglect, but was spared jail. He was given a 12 month supervision order, with 100 hours unpaid work and must pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. Bench chairman Stephen Riley said the victim could possibly have been caused physical and emotional harm.