Drunk youths committing more crimes
DRINK-fuelled crime by children under 16 has soared in the Lothians, new figures revealed today.
Police have recorded a 150 per cent increase in offences including violence and sexual crimes committed by drunken youngsters.
The number of children caught in possession of illegal drugs has also rocketed by nearly 40 per cent in only two years.
The figures emerged today as it was revealed 90 Edinburgh children under 16 have gone into drugs rehab in the past five years. And they come just a day after the Evening News revealed 40 babies every year in the city are born addicted to heroin.
The Tories said the figures made a mockery of the Scottish Executive's commitment to intervening early to beat the drugs problem. Official statistics released by Deputy Justice Minister Hugh Henry showed that in 1995/96 only four youngsters were going into rehab, but the figure peaked at 31 in 2002/03, before falling back to 17 in 2004/05. Across Scotland, numbers rose from 124 to 418 over the ten years.
Scottish Tory justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: "This information confirms the breadth and severity of the problem. We already knew there was a worrying number of casual users of drugs in the under-16 age group. Now we know that, Scotland-wide, the number of under-16s who have to enter rehabilitation programmes because they are addicted has increased almost four-fold in the last decade."
A Scottish Executive spokesman said no-one was complacent about the problem of drug misuse in Scotland.
"Despite the strong work carried out in education and prevention, too many young people are still being lured into abusing illegal drugs."