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'Home alone' mother questioned

The mother of a four-year-old girl left home alone has been questioned by police under caution after she returned to Britain.

Police found the girl after her 16-year-old brother was arrested along with another boy of 16 on suspicion of driving offences.

The mother is understood to have gone abroad on holiday to an undisclosed location, leaving the little girl's brother in charge of her care in Crawley, West Sussex. It is not known how long the girl had been left on her own.

The discovery of the girl was made after the two teenagers were stopped by police in the Maidenbower area at around 1am on Tuesday. The driver was arrested on suspicion of taking a car without the owner's consent, said Sussex Police.

The second boy was held on suspicion of being carried in a stolen vehicle and child neglect. Both have been freed on police bail until September 27.

On Thursday a police spokesman said the girl's mother had returned on Wednesday night and had been spoken to under caution.

Sources said she was not arrested because it is not an offence to leave a young child in the care of a 16-year-old unless it places them at risk.

The spokesman said: "The mother of the four-year-old girl voluntarily attended Crawley police station today where she was spoken to, under caution, by officers from Sussex Police child protection team. At this stage the investigation is ongoing in conjunction with Social Services."

A source said earlier that the mother was expected to receive advice.

A county council spokesman said that they had no comment to make because inquiries were continuing.


From Belfast Telegraph