A Preston couple was charged a £650 fine after they failed to seek their sons' school's authorisation before embarking on an "emergency" holiday to India.

Shahnawaz Patel, 36, and his wife Sofiya, a driving instructor, pleaded guilty at the magistrates' court and were fined a total of £650 – £480 fine, with an additional £150 for costs and a £20 surcharge.

Speaking at the court, Patel said, reported the Lancashire Evening Post: "I requested a meeting and we were just told our circumstances weren't exceptional. I needed my kids and family with me. We've done everything we can to make sure they go to school.

"We are not bad parents – it has been portrayed that way."

The Patels had allegedly written to the English Martyrs Catholic Primary in Preston in July 2014 seeking an authorized permission for the leave, however, "the headteacher didn't respond to [the request], and later said it was lost."

The leave was requested to visit the sick grandfather of the boys, Omar, 11, and Eiad, 8, who was due to undergo a serious surgery.

"When we learned he was to have surgery we sought permission from school but were refused," Sofiya told the Evening Post.

"My husband took the decision to take them to see their grandfather in the circumstances. We did not want them to miss out on what could have been their only chance to see their grandfather again.

"We got the first fine through the post and then a second one when we did not pay it."

Social media users were not too impressed with the court's ruling.