Tyrone parents left four children in house to go on holiday
Four Northern Ireland children have been taken into care after they were left home alone while their parents went on holiday, it has emerged.
The children, aged 14, 10, seven and five, were taken into care by social services in the Dungannon area last Friday after they were found by police to be living on their own.
Last night a senior PSNI officer described the incident as "both serious and shocking".
It was reported in a local newspaper that police visited the children's home after receiving reports alleging their parents had gone on holidays, leaving them to fend for themselves.
It is believed the children are now in the care of social services who have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
Dungannon based PSNI Inspector Keith Jamieson said the matter is now in the hands of social services.
He said: "Police are treating this matter as both serious and shocking and the identity of the children and parents cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
"The matter was referred to local social services."
A spokeswoman for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said it cannot comment on individual cases. She added: "It is a key priority of the Southern Trust to safeguard and protect children and young people.
"The trust would encourage anyone who has concerns about the welfare of a child to contact the trust's Gateway Service on 0800 783 7745 or other appropriate agencies immediately."
Last night Dungannon DUP councillor and mother-of-four Frances Burton spoke of her shock at the incident.
Dungannon councillor Anthony McGonnell was also concerned by the development.
And DUP man Samuel Brush said the incident was "beyond belief".