A five-year-old boy's skin turned orange because he was forced to live off carrots after being locked inside a basement in Utah, it is alleged.

The boy from Provo, south of Salt Lake City, was examined by doctors who found that his skin had turned an "orangey" tint.

Clarissa Anne Tobiasson, 27, and Brett Parker Tobiasson, 31, were both charged on 9 August with child abuse.

The couple has been accused of "disciplining" their adopted son, who was placed into the basement everyday for lengthy periods of time and instructed to eat a certain amount of carrots per day.

The basement, which was roughly 10ft by 10ft, had no lights and a loose carpet over the floor.

He was only given a mattress and a blanket to sleep with and was routinely locked in from 6pm until 6am.

Utah County sheriffs police issued a statement saying that the "boy described that he would go to the bathroom while in the room and put the waste in a hole in a wall so he would not get in trouble".

He was allowed to eat other food items at meal times, but only after eating the carrots.

Police said that "in another instance he was disciplined for eating samples at a local store when he knew he was supposed to eat carrots before eating anything else".

The boy has been placed into the care of his grandmother. Two other children who lived in the property, a 2-year-old and 2-month-old are in the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services.

The couple were both charged with one count of child abuse. Their bail was set at $10,000.