Armed youngsters on our streets

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CHILDREN as young as eight have been caught carrying weapons in Wigan – and the number is on the increase.

Disturbing figures from Greater Manchester Police reveal that 24 youngsters were found with an illegal item which could cause injury to someone last year.

That is a rise from 16 in 2014 and 12 in 2013 and 2012.

Data, released under Freedom of Information rules, shows that 15 youngsters – including an eight-year-old – had a knife in their possession.

Six teenagers were caught with a firearm, one 13-year-old was carrying a sledgehammer and a 17-year-old was found with an unknown weapon.

Last year, the youngest weapon-carrying offender was 10, as they held a knife.

An 11-year-old and 16-year-old had firearms, whilst a 16-year-old was in trouble after having a stun gun, with another 16-year-old possessing a knuckle duster.

Other offensive weapons confiscated from children over the last four years included scissors, a baseball bat, a metal bar and a hammer.

Chief Supt Shaun Donnellan said: “There has been a small increase of youths being found with weapons in the area and this is an obvious concern due to the threats they pose to members of the public.”