14/08/2014 12:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Adoptive Mum 'Too Fat' To Attend Court For Truant Daughters

Mum 'too fat' to go to court on school attendance charges

An adoptive mum avoided court over her children's school attendance because of her extreme weight.

Court officials found Rita Astbury, 56, bedbound at her Blackpool home and decided it was too dangerous to move her.

Astbury was due at Blackpool Magistrates Court on charges of failing to ensure her adoptive daughters - who are aged 13 and 15 - attended school.

The Daily Mail claims that Mrs Astbury may now lose custody of the girls, who are reported to be her grandchildren.

Warrant officer David Riches explained to magistrates that he took the decision to not force Mrs Astbury to court because of her health.

"I have been to her house and frankly she is now too big to be arrested," he said.

The court heard that Mrs Astbury also faced Bail Act offences for failing to turn up at earlier hearings, but these were subsequently dropped.

Mrs Astbury has been legal guardian to the two girls since 2002, after their birth mother – Astbury's daughter - reportedly 'struggled to cope with them'.

In 2009, the girls' mother abducted them from their grandmother's home and took them to live in Morocco with her new partner. The girls were eventually returned to their grandmother after an international custody battle.

Social workers are now investigating whether she is fit to look after them.

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said the authorities were looking into the case and that the girls may have to be removed from Mrs Astbury 'for their own wellbeing.'

A friend of Mrs Astbury's told the paper that it was a 'terrible' situation and that 'everything has taken its toll on her'.