A SEASONED police officer said living conditions in a West Swindon family home were among the worst she’d seen in 17 years on the job.

Animal excrement and urine littered the floor, rubbish was piled high and flies buzzed around the house.

Three children were living in the house together with their mum and dad.

The parents – not named because magistrates made an order banning the identification of the children – admitted three counts of child neglect.

Prosecutor Keith Ballinger told the Swindon bench that police were called to a disturbance at family’s West Swindon home at around 9.30pm on Boxing Day last year.

When they arrived the mother refused to let the officers into the house and asked them why they’d been called.

She claimed she and her husband had argued about their eldest daughter going out, but she hadn’t called the emergency services.

Her husband was arrested on suspicion of assault, although no charges were brought against him.

When officers went inside the property they were confronted by what PC Joanna Field, described as a foul stench. It was extremely overpowering and she felt sick,” Mr Ballinger added.

Animal faeces littered the floor, some trodden into it. There was rubbish and clutter everywhere. The hallway was completely blocked and the officers had to stand on rubbish in order to walk into the living room.

PC Field said in her witness statement she had seen disordered homes, but it was one of the worst she’d seen in her 17-year career.

The living conditions in the property were described as squalid and the officer felt the house was not fit for human habitation.

The mother began trying to tidy the house after seeing the shock on the officer’s face.

Both parents were arrested on suspicion of child neglect.

Interviewed by the police, the husband acknowledged the house was a mess and took responsibility for the state of home. He said the bins had been stolen from outside the property and as a result the rubbish had begun to pile up. He had two convictions for assault but had not been before the courts for five years.

His wife, who had no previous convictions, told officers she’d shut herself off from the world, had not been taking her depression medication. She appeared shocked when she was shown images of the state of the house.

Mitigating for the couple, solicitor Liz Highams said her clients were remorseful and had immediately taken steps to address the conditions in the house. All three children had returned to live with their parents.

She added: “I think for both of them this has come as a massive shock to them and I am sure you will see neither of them in the courts again.”

Noting the steps the couple had taken, magistrates imposed 12-month community orders.

Both must complete 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 150 hours of unpaid work. Costs of £85 and a £90 victim surcharge must be paid by each.

Chairman of the bench Ninna Gibson told the husband and wife: “You are here today charged with three offences of neglect and, as you will be aware, those are taken very seriously by the court and it is in our power today to send you into custody.”