CHILD cruelty and neglect cases in West Mercia have more than trebled over five years, an even greater increase than the national figure where such offences have doubled.

In 2017/18 the force, which polices Worcestershire, recorded 354 offences of parents deliberately neglecting, mistreating or assaulting their children.

This is more than three times the 103 offences recorded five years ago in 2012/13.

The figures, published by the NSPCC, show that such incidents nationally have more than doubled.

There were 16,939 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by police in 2017/18, up from 7,965 in 2012/13.

Reports to the police included extreme cases of when a parent or carer deliberately neglected, assaulted, abandoned or exposed their child to serious harm.

To raise awareness of child neglect – the most common type of abuse affecting children in the UK - the NSPCC has launched its ‘Light For Every Childhood’ Christmas Appeal.

Last night the Houses of Parliament and BT Tower become the latest UK landmarks to show their support by lighting up in the charity’s trademark green.

The amount of police offences is mirrored by the number of calls made to the NSPCC helpline – totalling 19,937 last year about children suffering neglect - with three quarters referred urgently to police or children’s services.

Tracey Hamer, NSPCC helpline practitioner said if a recent referral to police: “The police went out to do a welfare check, and later told me that mum had been found unwell and violently vomiting and unable to care for her three-year-old daughter.

“The house was in a state of disrepair and the kitchen worktops were covered in dirty crockery with mould on them. The washing machine was broken, and mum said that water would come up through the pipes when she tried to use it so she couldn’t clean any clothes."

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email