Drugs Shame of Wales' Youngsters; Caught in Possession - Aged Just 10

Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales), December 4, 2011 | Go to article overview

Drugs Shame of Wales' Youngsters; Caught in Possession - Aged Just 10


Byline: JULIA McWATT

DRUGS-RELATED cautions and arrests have soared among under-17s in Wales over the past four years, with children as young as 10 being caught in possession.

And drugs workers have warned that youngsters may be being targeted by drug dealers to carry drugs for them as a way of avoiding detection.

Figures released by police authorities across Wales, revealing the extent of the growing problem, show that: * In South Wales alone, the number of children being advised or verbally warned by officers rose from one in 2006-07 to 128 in 2010-11; * Dyfed-Powys Police arrested a 10-year-old in 2009-10 for a drugs-related offence; * North Wales Police arrested a 13-year-old for trafficking in 2008, while a year earlier children aged 11 and 12 were arrested for possessing a drug other than cannabis.

Martin Blakebrough, chief executive of Newport-based drugs support agency Kaleidoscope, warned of the dangers of children being targeted by dealers to stash their drugs.

"The way some drug dealers work is that they will use other people, such as youngsters, to carry the drugs," he said. "A while back they were offering money to elderly people so they would hold stuff for them.

"The young people may not be taking the drugs but they might be holding them for someone else.

"Unfortunately the statistics do not surprise me.

"Some groups are more exposed to drugs and we sometimes forget there are people who live on certain estates who have extreme exposure to drugs and are introduced to them at a young age. That's pretty terrible.

"To have kids as young as 10 involved in drugs is obviously extremely alarming.

"If the parents are taking drugs then the children are likely to get involved.

"With cannabis, there is money to be made if you take it and deal it.

"The good thing is that we're not seeing a lot of Class A drugs in these figures.

"Young people are not turning to opiates as much as they used to.

"But the underlying problem is that people are still turning to drugs which is not good for them or for society. …

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