A SINGLE mother who jetted off for a holiday in Tenerife, leaving her four young children in the care of a 16-year-old, was yesterday found guilty of cruelty.
Amanda Woods was convicted of four charges by a majority verdict at Warrington Crown Court.
Her offences came to light after firefighters were called to a blaze at her home in Haryngton Avenue, Bewsey, Warrington, in January this year.
The four children, all aged under 10, were rescued by fire crews, along with their 16-year-old aunt and her 17-year-old boyfriend.
Woods, 28, was contacted in Tenerife and returned home early from her holiday two days later. She was arrested at Manchester Airport.
Judge David Hale yesterday adjourned sentence for three weeks and remanded the defendant on bail.
He told her: 'I am not going to send you to prison. No harm came to the children.
'You must co-operate with the Probation Service who will prepare a report on you.'
The court heard that Cheshire Social Services had been involved with the family for some years.
The youngsters were placed on the 'at risk' register and there had been concerns about Woods' baby-sitting arrangements.
She had been told the 16-year-old aunt was not considered a suitable person for long-term baby sitting.
Woods did not inform social services she was going on holiday, even though she had booked it almost a year in advance.
Matthew Dunford, prosecuting, told the court that social services had warned the mother about leaving her children in the care of the 16-year-old on previous occasions.
Once a social worker had visited the house and found her looking after the children.
Two had dirty nappies and there was a bowl of vomit by the settee. Three teenage girls were asleep in a bed.
Woods told the court she had booked the holiday because she felt she needed a break. She had won £250 on a lottery and paid the balance in instalments.
She said the father had agreed to look after her children while she was away but telephoned her two days before she was due to leave to say he could not do so.
Her mother, who lived two doors way, agreed to cash her benefit, shop for food and give the children their medicine, and her sister agreed to stay with them at night. Two friends, aged 17 and 18, agreed to stand in on occasions when her sister could not cover.
She had no reservations about her sister caring for her children or her boyfriend or other friends keeping her company.
Asked by Mr Dunford if she still considered the arrangements were adequate and proper, she replied: 'Yes.'
She had not felt it necessary to inform social services she was going to Tenerife, but understood her mother had told them she was going on holiday.