A MOTHER who allowed a toddler to wander in the street while she slept upstairs admitted she behaved like a “monster”.

Police arrived at her home in Harwich on December 1 2017 and found it to be “wholly unsuitable” for children.

The Gazette has kept her anonymous to protect the identity of the children.

Edmund Blackman, prosecuting, highlighted how there was not enough food for the children and baby bottles were not sterilised.

When she was arrested on suspicion of child neglect, the woman said she had been short of money and was “struggling”.

Her children were temporarily taken away and the woman arrested but not charged.

They were eventually allowed back home, but two months later a neighbour noticed a toddler alone in the road wearing just a T-shirt.

Police arrived and found the house extremely dirty, the oven door open, sugar all over the floor and dog mess in a child’s bedroom.

Once again the children were taken away but returned within weeks.

In March 2018, the police received a call from a worried neighbour who reported a toddler was wandering in the road wearing a onesie and no shoes.

The woman was arrested and charged with three counts of child neglect and a single count of possession of cannabis.

She admitted each charge.

Lynne Shirley, mitigating, said the woman had struggled with domestic violence.

“She accepts she’s failed her children and these children no longer reside with her,” she said.

She added: “She has been frank in the probation report, which notes she was truly ashamed and disgusted with herself and described herself as a monster.”

Judge Patricia Lynch QC said she had to take sentencing guidelines into account.

She imposed a sentence of two years imprisonment, suspended for two years.

She said: “You should be remorseful, you should be ashamed.

“You put your own interests over and above the interests of those you should care for more than anything.”