A couple left a five-year-old girl home alone while they went to work before she was found wandering along a busy road.
Marek Milewski, 29, and Sabina Piechocka, 24, were supposed to be looking after the child, but left her home alone in a flat in Callander, Perthshire, while they went to work.
They told the child they would phone her every 15 minutes, but she let herself out and went to search for them on May 2.
Stirling Sheriff Court was told the bewildered child was later found making her way along a grass embankment beside the busy A84 road between Kilmahog and Callander - known as the "Road to the Isles".
Kevin Corrins, prosecuting, said that two police officers patrolling the road at the time of the incident on the May Bank Holiday "became concerned" when they saw the girl walking alone on the grass verge.
The depute fiscal said: "At about one in the afternoon police witnesses were travelling along the A84 in a marked police car when they saw a child running and walking along the grass embankment.
"Police were immediately concerned and the child appeared to be unsupervised."
"They stopped the vehicle and took the child to the premises known as the Trossachs Woollen Mill. They spoke to the child and she advised that she was on her own."
Mr Corrins said the police were able to determine that Piechocka worked in a nearby hotel and contacted her and asked her to attend at the woollen mill.
Mr Corrins said: "About 20 minutes later both accused attended and police discovered they had both been at work and the child had been alone for several hours."
He added: "At the time of the incident the officers indicated that the road was extremely busy as it was a bank holiday weekend and the distance the child needed to walk to get to Piechocka was around 1.5 miles."
Both accused were cautioned and charged.
Piechocka and Milewski, of Ledi Court, Callender, pleaded guilty to wilfully neglecting the child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The couple, representing themselves through a Polish interpreter, told the court that they had believed that security doors on the property would keep the child safely inside the flat.
Sheriff William Gilchrist said that social work reports on the couple showed that they had tried to make arrangements for an alternative person to look after the child, but had not managed.
He said: "You took the view that because of the door entry system that she couldn't get out. But you were going to leave her alone for three hours.
"I'm sure you are aware of the legal and practical importance of not leaving her alone and this won't happen again. But this is a serious matter."
The couple were fined £300.