WARNING: This report includes details of significant child neglect. Please take care when reading.

Four children were so grateful to get clean clothes social workers were alarmed at the chronic neglect by their parents.

One of the children was missing 17 teeth. All had head lice. Their West Dunbartonshire home smelled of urine and faeces everywhere.

There were no clean clothes, no clean bedding.

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The details emerged after their parents both pleaded guilty this month to persistent neglect of five youngsters, all under the age of 10.

To protect the children and their recovery from their ordeal, the Glasgow Times is not naming the parents.

The case has taken years to get to court. Police attended the property in November 2017. The couple weren't charged until December 2022. And they finally pleaded guilty on June 4, 2024, at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.

When police arrived at 6am on November 24 seven years ago, the conditions were unfit for habitation and there were signs of chronic neglect.

Officers immediately noticed a strong smell of urine and faeces, fiscal depute Dana Barclay told the court.

Two girls, aged three and four, were naked on a sofa. One's bottom was covered in faeces and was using a towel as a blanket. The other was not covered at all.

On a sofa to the left were two boys, aged seven and 10, who were both sleeping naked under a dirty duvet.

It was not revealed in court where the fifth child was.

There was rubbish throughout the property. Open bottles of alcohol were on display. The floor was sticky and damp.

The unsanitary kitchen and cooker had numerous badly burnt pots and pans. There was grease on every surface. The sink was filled with dirty dishes, and sharp knives were on open display.

On one work surface, there were children's clothes piled high with faeces next to them.

The ceiling was damp. The walls were full of holes. There were flies.

In one bedroom, the mattress was bare and heavily stained. There was no clean bedding. A second bedroom mattress also appeared stained with faeces and urine.

Pants were soiled with excrement.

There was a heavily stained towel on the floor. There were no blinds or carpets. The walls were stained. Broken toys were on the floor.

Police woke the father who went downstairs and was heavily intoxicated and in no fit state to look after the children. He said the mother was outwith the area visiting family and could not be contacted.

When social workers arrived, they said "they had never seen such dreadful conditions in their 16 years' experience", said Ms Barclay.

One child reported they were always naked at home because there were no clean clothes.

The court was told social workers and health professionals raised issues like this repeatedly.

Children had shoes that were too small, they were worn and had holes. Clothing had previously been purchased for and donated to the children.

The mother "has a history of failing to provide adequate health care", heard the court. But she had been repeatedly provided advice.

Dental care was so poor that one child had up to 13 extractions and one was missing 17 teeth.

Extensive head lice was noticed by school teachers on the children. They were also noted to attend school in inappropriate clothing or in items that didn't fit, were foul smelling and worn out.

"Bedwetting seems to have been seen to be acceptable," said the prosecutor. "[The mother] didn't seem concerned."

A psychiatrist noted that at least two of the children were unable to engage with interviews due to the trauma suffered.

When social workers rescued the children, because they had no clothing, they were taken to a supermarket to get items.

Ms Barclay said: "The children reacted to this new clothing in a manner that took social workers aback down to their level of gratitude, what they considered alarming behaviour indicating wider neglect."

Prosecutors originally charged the parents with neglect dating back to the birth of each of six children.

When the couple pleaded, a not-guilty plea was accepted relating to the eldest child. And the dates of the crimes were from November 24, 2016, over the course of a year.

The father admitted to failing to provide five children with adequate and clean clothing and failing to adequately supervise them and their movements and whereabouts within and outwith the home, all to their harm.

The mother also admitted failing to provide adequate and clean clothing for five children. And she failed to obtain medical and dental treatment when required and failed to perform basic hygiene routines, adequate or sanitary living accommodation and cooking facilities and failed to provide adequate bedding - all to their harm.

The court in a hearing on June 12 was told the children remain with foster parents.

Sheriff Paul Reid called for background reports on the parents, who had no previous convictions. He also asked for an update on how the children were doing after their neglect.

He said: "Your guilt has been conclusively established. Custody will be at the forefront of the court's mind. You should return to court on July 19 with no expectation of being released."

The parents showed no emotion throughout the hearing or as they left court.