The couple, both aged 50, admitted one charge of assault, ill-treating, neglect of a child. They were sentenced to a 12 month community order to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. A couple who were professional social workers left their son who has learning difficulties “home alone” as they took a trip to London, “have lost everything”.The boy’s mother and stepfather – she was a senior social worker and he was an approved mental health professional – admitted neglecting the 10-year-old boy who had the abilities of a seven year old.Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard the couple’s lawyer Caroline Salvatore say: “One misjudgement and they have lost everything – their son, their home, their jobs, and spilt up the family.”But the JPs were told that the couple had “prevaricated” with the police who turned up at their home one night in July 2015 to find the boy lying on the sofa alone. Prosecutor Lyndsey Baker said the boy – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – has learning difficulties and was found “home alone”.He said his parents, whom he lived with in Devon, had gone “away to London”. The police said the house was clean and there as plenty of food left for him to eat.But the child started crying and repeatedly asking “for his mummy”.The couple claimed they had made phone calls to each other but police checked their mobile phone records and ANPR car registration details and found they had driven to London together that evening. They were both working in social care all their lives and both have lost their jobs and are having to sell their houseCaroline Salvatore, defending His mother claimed she suffered a panic attack as she initially drove to London, returned home, and she and the boy’s stepfather then set off together – and he intended to return immediately from London by train.Miss Salvatore said: “This was short term abandonment.”She said the boy’s mother was rushing some medication to London for her mother who was flying out of the country.Miss Salvatore said the stepfather was going to make a five hour return trip and was not staying the night in London.The lawyer said they did not consider taking he boy with him because he would be too “tired the next day”.She said they prevaricated with the police during their interviews saying they panicked and “lost their heads in the scary process”.”They were both working in social care all their lives and both have lost their jobs and are having to sell their house.”She said the boy, now 11, briefly went into the care of Social Services following this incident.The mother is now working in London, the stepfather selling door-to-door in Devon and the boy’s time is split between them.Miss Salvatore said: “This could not have more wrong. One bad misjudgement affected all their lives. They have been punished quite severely for this error of judgement.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.