POLICE charged a 10-year-old Midland boy with being a cannabis farmer, the Sunday Mercury can reveal. The youngster was detained by West Midland officers when they investigated a reported burglary at an address in Quinton, Birmingham. Officers searched the property but, instead of catching a thief, they found the schoolboy surrounded by cannabis plants. He was arrested on suspicion of producing cannabis. The youngster was later charged and the file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “The boy was of Oriental origin and was aged 10. He was arrested at an address in Quinton following reports of a burglary.
“When officers arrived they found parts of the house had been converted into a cannabis factory. He was arrested on suspicion of the production of cannabis and subsequently charged.” The boy was arrested in June 2008 and is now aged 14. Details have only just come to light as the result of a Freedom of Information request made to police forces across the UK. West Mercia Police arrested a 10-year-old from Hereford on suspicion of possession of cannabis. But the charges were subsequently dropped after the substance he was found with turned out to be legal. The two youngsters are among the thousands of schoolchildren to get caught up in the drugs world. Shocking figures from police forces across Britain have revealed that 12,589 youngsters under the age of 16 have been arrested for drug-related offences in the past three years.
Of those, six 10-year-olds were arrested for possession, while 53 youngsters aged 11 were detained for either possession or intent to sell. The data, released under the Freedom of Information Act, covers 40 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. Britain’s biggest force, The Metropolitan Police, arrested 3,592 under 16s for drugs, with 14 of those aged 11 or under.The age or criminal responsibility in Britain is 10 years old, meaning no children under that age were arrested. Anyone aged between 10 and 14 can be convicted if it can be proved that they knew what they were doing was wrong. Anti-drug campaigners said the figures showed it was important for children to be educated about drugs at a young age. Martin Barnes, of charity DrugScope, said: “These figures underline the importance of early intervention when young people are in trouble or experiencing problems at home or school. “Sufficient funding for young people’s services is key, but many – including drug education and treatment projects – are under threat from local authority cuts.”
via : Sunday Mercury
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