London: A woman in Britain has been found keeping her 10-year-old son locked up in a coal-bunker for over a year for being naughty or stealing food from the kitchen. His room had a soiled mattress, a dirty sleeping bag and a urine-filled potty.
The youngster slept in the padlocked outhouse every night and was imprisoned for hours at a time during the day if he misbehaved.
While the woman, in her 30s, and her partner, in his 40s, lived in comfort in the main house, a tiny window and a badly-wired lightbulb provided the boy light and he was often fed lumps of butter or raw meat in the tiny bunker, the Daily Mail reported.
Police described the conditions as "barbaric" after the boy's mother and her partner admitted to child cruelty in court.
Detective Constable Matt Normanton of the Lancashire Police, said he had never seen anything like it.
"The child was found to be kept in a cell, living in poor, inhumane conditions...It was smaller than a (police) cell. It was just big enough for a single mattress and a ceramic potty which was full of urine," he said.
"The child had been scratching stuff on the walls while he was locked up. It's barbaric...There was no air, it was really stale, and cold. There was a small window on the far side which was sealed and a single light bulb ...There was a bowl with some stale food in it. It's nothing short of being a prisoner," he said.
The couple, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the vicitm, pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court to a charge of child cruelty by neglect between Jan 1, 2010 and Jan 25, 2011.
Judge Anthony Russell warned the boy's mother and her partner they could be jailed.
The couple have been bailed for sentencing May 18 and told not to contact the boy directly or indirectly and not to have any unsupervised contact or communication with a child under 16 unless supervised by the social services.