A MOTHER-of-three left her children home alone, on her son’s seventh birthday, so she could enjoy a late-night rendezvous with a new partner, a court heard.

And when police forced their way into a locked bedroom, at her Blackburn home, her five-year-old daughter told officers: “Mummy has left us alone again”.

The 32-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had also abandoned a three-year-old at the house, Preston Crown Court heard.

None of them could get out of the bedroom because the door handle had been removed, the court was told.

Judge Philip Parry said their own only source of light was a lamp with exposed wires, which had been left plugged into a damaged socket, representing a clear fire hazard.

The mother pleaded guilty to three offences of child neglect and was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. She must also complete 150 hours of community service and undertake 30 rehabilitation activity days.

Passing sentence, Judge Parry, said: “September 15 was your son’s birthday and here he was, locked in a bedroom with his two siblings while you went out.”

Charles Brown, prosecuting, said the alarm had been raised by the children’s father, who was separated from their mother, who called the police, fearing she had left the children home alone.

When officers arrived on the scene they could see a light on in a back bedroom, he told the court, so they broke in through the front door.

Mr Brown said the police could not immediately open the bedroom door and the youngsters could be heard crying inside.

Their father, who was with the officers, asked them to stand clear of the door and it was broken down, the court heard.

Inside the children had been left with a plastic bucket, as an apparent toilet, a roll of toilet paper and a plastic bag filled with snacks.

Later their mother was arrested, said Mr Brown, and her mobile phone was checked for text messages.

He told the court it became apparent she had booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express at Burnley, for herself and a man she referred to as ‘babe’ in texts.

Mr Brown said she asked her sister to look after the children but when those babysitting arrangements fell through she still went out. The mother was detained when she returned to the family home at around 8am the next day.

Kelly Cyples, defending, said her client had been involved in an abusive relationship with the children’s father, which she had ended. But because she had married him against her family’s wishes, she was effectively isolated and had struggled with bringing the children up, she added.

The court heard the children were now cared for by her aunt and uncle.