The father of two boys, aged three and four, has been jailed in France for feeding them cakes and Coca-Cola, the children's lawyer said.

The father, who can "neither read, nor write, nor count, doesn't realise the seriousness of the situation and spent all his welfare money on alcohol," Carole Papon, a representative of the association French Victims 87, said.

Within a few days of welfare payments being made "the family had nothing to eat" and "only had Coca-Cola to drink," she said.

The man, who was described as violent towards his wife and children, was jailed for three months in Limoges, central France.

The eldest boy had to have seven rotten teeth removed, and the second does not speak.

Both have been taken into care where they have been introduced to meat and vegetables.

"There was nothing in their flat," Bruno Robinet, the deputy public prosecutor, said.

"There was no fridge, the children slept on a mattress without covers and there were no toys ... Their father fed them on cakes and coke," he added.