Some 478 children under the age of 10 were reported to the police
Some 478 children under the age of 10 were reported to the police over the last five years in Cumbria.
Kids as young as three were on the list, although children under the age of 10 cannot be arrested or charged with a crime.
Among that shocking statistic is 23 children aged four to nine who were reported for sexual offences.
Other worrying figures included four children who were reported for possession of an offensive weapon, aged between eight and nine.
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Some 24 children aged from five to nine were accused of causing public fear, alarm or distress.
And 13 aged five to nine were suspected of being behind a hate incident.
Two children aged six and seven were accused of harassment.
Children’s charity the NSPCC called for more support for young children
The most prolific crime children were reported for with 114 cases was assault without injury, with the age range from three to nine.
In second place with 64 children was assault with injury, with children aged six to nine accused of the crime.
In third was damage to vehicles, which 61 children aged three to nine were reported for.
One eight-year-old was accused of arson, and a nine-year-old of public order offences.
Other offences included bicycle theft, burglary dwelling, burglary other than a dwelling, damage to dwellings, damage to other buildings, other damage, shoplifting and theft from a motor vehicle.
A police spokesman said: “When children do commit offences, they tend to be against other children.
One eight-year-old was accused of arson, and a nine-year-old of public order offences
“The majority of the offences reported to have been committed by children are anti-social-type offences such as damage to property.
“There are other punishments that can be given to children under 10 who break the law."
A local headteacher, Chris Armstrong of Brampton Primary School, called the figures “worrying”.
The figures are quite worrying and it has shocked me
He said: “A four-year-old committing a sexual offence is shocking – quite alarming actually.
“The figures are quite worrying and it has shocked me that there are so many.
“You wonder why that is happening.
The most prolific crime children were reported for with 114 cases was assault without injury
Children’s charity the NSPCC called for more support for young children suspected of breaking the law.
A spokesman said: “At age 10, children are unlikely to understand the consequences of their actions or be able to effectively participate in criminal proceedings.
“The NSPCC believes the age of criminal responsibility should be raised to at least 12 years of age in England.”