Police catch kids as young as 12 carrying illegal drugs

CHILDREN as young as 12 have been discovered carrying illegal drugs after stop and search checks by police.

Cannabis, amphetamines, cocaine and mephedrone were found on youngsters as they were hanging out in streets across Edinburgh and the Lothians, the Evening News can reveal today.

Since January around 100 children and young teenagers were found in possession of drugs, 25 of whom were aged 15 or under.

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A 12-year-old boy in Bathgate was discovered in possession of cannabis, and a 16-year-old was found to have cocaine after police searched him in the city centre.

A number were also caught with mephedrone, a former "legal high" which recently became a Class-B drug after it was linked to the deaths of several teenagers.

The highest number of youths aged 15 or under were found in Bathgate, closely followed by Blackburn and Whitburn.

There were also several drugs finds in the city centre, Leith, Craigmillar and Livingston.

A number of 14-year-olds were also found with cannabis in Morningside and the Meadows. The illegal substance most commonly found on schoolchildren was cannabis, followed by amphetamines.

Children caught with drugs are generally cautioned and details of the incident are sent to the children's reporter. Depending on the circumstances, a report may be sent to social services.

A spokesman at Lothian and Borders Police said officers were committed to several initiatives designed to discourage children and teenagers from taking drugs.

He said: "We are committed to working with partners to tackle substance misuse among young people through a combination of early intervention and education.

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"Initiatives such as our annual Choices for Life event highlight the dangers of substance misuse, and seek to encourage children to make positive decisions around their lifestyle. This is a hugely popular event, attended by thousands of children, and the feedback we receive is always very positive.

"In addition to this, the force has a number of drugs awareness officers who liaise with local schools to ensure that the latest advice is available to schoolchildren, including learning packages that deal with both drug and alcohol misuse.

"This work is carried out in partnership with other agencies, including local Alcohol and Drug Partnership groups, SCDEA, and ACPOS.

He added: "While we will always look at ways to tackle the root causes of substance misuse, we maintain a robust approach towards dealing with any such incidents that come to our attention, and anyone who is involved in illegal activity of this nature can expect to be dealt with accordingly."


THE community safety minister will be in Musselburgh tomorrow to learn about community programmes to combat drug and alcohol abuse.

Fergus Ewing MSP will attend a seminar to discuss the future strategy of the Mid and East Lothian Drug and Alcohol Partnership.

He will also meet people who use some of its services.