A Somerset town has been victim to a rogue criminal believed to be behind a fifth of all crimes recorded including criminal damage and arson.
The culprit, however, cannot be named because he is only an eleven-year-old boy, who was recently expelled from his primary school, according to the Telegraph.
He is thought to have committed so many offences that police recorded a 40 per cent rise in crime one month on the previous year. The boy, who is thought to have a ‘troubled’ home life, is believed to have committed 10 out of 50 crimes last November in the town of Shepton Mallet.
He has received a conditional discharge for seven offences and is due to appear in court to answer charges for the other three.
The boy’s stepfather, with whom his mother also has another child, has recently returned to his native country and the child who has seemingly had a life so far resembling a career criminal, is said to have a troubled relationship with him.
One local resident who knows the family described the mother as “a kind hearted woman, unlikely to raise her voice, who had tried, but failed to install boundaries.”
The reaction in the town is varied, with some thinking the boy needs help and guidance and others thinking he’s a trouble maker who needs to learn right from wrong.
Karen Mercer who owns a health food shop in the town, said she was concerned for him.
“As a community, we have the responsibility to help and to guide him, rather than to alienate and demonise him. He is a bright young boy, he doesn’t have to go down this road and if only one good thing comes from seeing this story in the papers, I hope he is given that help and guidance to be the best that he can be.”
But another woman, who did not want to be named, said: “He is nothing but trouble. He’s been a very naughty boy ever since he was little,” adding, “He abuses us every time he sees us.”
When asked what she would like to see happen to the child, she said, “I would like to see him go somewhere where he is going to meet somebody who will tell him what is right or wrong.”
The woman said the boy’s behaviour was so bad that some residents have installed CCTV cameras to keep an eye on their property just because of him. Neighbours said that over the past six months police had visited the boy’s house on numerous occasions, including one visit only a few weeks ago.
Police said the boy first came to their attention last summer. Constable Darren Walton said the offences took place over a few months but could have been all recorded officially in November.
Insp Mark Nicholson, of Wells Police, added: “We fully understand figures do change and one individual can make a considerable dent in figures. We will continue to remain vigilant.”