Dinner Money Is like a Red Rag to a Bully; PENCE IN THE POCKET 'MAKE CHILDREN A TARGET FOR THE TAXMEN'
Byline: RORY CARROLL
PARENTS were warned yesterday that sending their children to school with cash for dinners and bus fares may make them targets for bullies.
They were also told to avoid dressing youngsters in designer clothes, another magnet for playground thugs.
The warnings by police in West Yorkshire were condemned as 'over the top' by one child protection charity. But a force spokesman said: 'It's like the law of the jungle. Some children are preyed upon, others do the preying.'
Pupils moving to a new school are especially vulnerable, said police, and should use alternatives to cash whenever possible - such as prepaid bus fares, packed lunches or even school-run smartcard schemes.
Bullies avoid detection by levying a daily toll - a so-called tax - which leaves victims with just enough money for the fare home and, if they are lucky, to buy some bread for lunch.
PC Eddie Webb, youth service officer at Pudsey, near Leeds said: 'Kids almost accept it.
They don't see it as a crime. It's a cultural thing. Many incidents go unreported so it's impossible to know how widespread this is.' The warning follows an increasing number of reports of playground 'taxing'. …