SEVEN Thurrock parents appeared before Basildon Magistrates for failing to ensure their children attended school regularly.

Fines, costs and victim surcharges totalling £2,825 were imposed on the seven who all now have a criminal record.

In cases where the parent failed to attend court the matter was allowed to proceed in the defendant’s absence.

James Halden, councillor for education, said: “The education of children who do not attend school regularly suffers to a great degree.

“Taking parents to court is a last resort, but it is something the council has to do if we care about the young people and their futures.

“Thurrock Council works closely with schools and parents to encourage regular attendance, but if all else fails, we must back up our efforts with criminal proceedings.

“Yes, these people now have a criminal record.”