Mexico police have rescued more than 450 children they believe were abused at a children’s home in Zamora in the western state of Michoacan.

They were allegedly subject to sexual abuse and forced to beg on the streets.

The owner, Rosa del Carmen Verduzco, and eight employees at the House of the Big Family have been arrested.

Correspondents say it is one of Mexico’s worst incidents of alleged child abuse at a children’s institution in many years.

‘Utter dismay’

The government said the building was home to 278 boys, 174 girls and six infants under the age of three.

Also rescued were 138 adults aged up to 40, the government said.

Reports say the residents were forced to live in terrible conditions.

“I’m in utter dismay because we weren’t expecting the conditions we found at the group home,” local governor Salvador Jara said.

The House of the Big Family has been operating for 40 years and was known locally as Mama Rosa’s Home.

The authorities began to investigate the home after parents complained that they were denied access to their children.

One woman, who grew up at the home herself, gave birth to two children, who were registered in the name of Mrs Verduzco. When the mother left the home, aged 31, she was not allowed to take her children with her, investigators said.