A mother who left her children in a hot car for 45 minutes has escaped jail.

The children, aged between two and eight, made themselves known by sounding the horn on 4 July, when the temperature was around 40C.

Kelly Marie Langham, 26, from Carlisle told Carlisle magistrates court that she though she would only be away for minutes and did not realise how hot the car would become.

She was spared Jail by chairman of the bench Sally Metcalfe Gibson, who ordered her to complete a year’s community order, to help improve her parenting skills, under the supervision of Cumbria Action Social Support.

She was also order to pay £50 costs and given a six-month drug treatment order.

Metcalfe Gibson said: "This was a serious offence but you are a person of good character with no previous convictions.

“You have had significant problems coping with the absence of your partner, three young children to care for, the lack of secure housing and your drug use."

Langham was arrested after a passer-by phoned police when he heard the children beeping the car horn, which had its windows slightly wound down.

She told police she had taken amphetamine, which she claims to have become dependent on because of her depression.

The children did not need hospital treatment but police said they were traumatised by the incident.

Langham’s solicitor said her client’s thinking was “not how it should have been”.

She added: "This has been a wake-up call for her. She has significant problems for someone who is a single parent of 26 with three young children."