14/08/2014 16:56 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Parents Left Boy, Five, Home Alone While They Worked Nights

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Little boy holding door

A court has heard that a five-year-old Sheffield boy was left home alone by his mum and dad while they went out to work.

The court was told the child was left on his own at weekends while his refugee parents worked nights.

The Sheffield Star reports that the boy's 37-year-old mum worked as an assistant in a care home, while his 46-year-old dad was a nightclub bouncer.

The incidents occurred on Friday and Saturday nights during August. The mum said her cousin usually babysat but had been on holiday.

The pair admitted child cruelty during the hearing at Sheffield Crown Court, although their lawyer said it was 'short term' abandonment while the couple took low paid work.

"Appropriate measures were not put in place but fortunately the child did not come to any harm," said Andrew Swaby, representing the boy's father.

According to the newspaper, the mother's lawyer, Amy Earnshaw, said the woman had acted out of desperation.

The lawyer said: "She felt she had been put in a situation of desperation. She was incredibly scared she would lose her boy."

The child had been placed in care after the incidents, but has since been returned to his mum, who now employs a childminder.

Sentencing the parents to a 12 month community, court recorder Michael Hubbard said the mum and dad had been trying to do their 'best' for their family despite the seriousness of their actions.

"They were doing their best to earn as much money as they could to better the home environment," he said. "I am sorry in many ways that you are in a crown court but it underlines the seriousness of your conduct and I'm sure you now understand that.

"At the time you left your boy you had no idea that you could be facing a criminal charge for what you did.

"But you can't leave a five-year-old boy in a house at night alone whatever the reason."

Editor's apology: An earlier version of this article said the mother is now a childminder. This should have been 'employs' a childminder. We apologise unreservedly for this mistake.