By Cara Sulieman
CHILDREN as young as 12 have been caught with illegal drugs by police in the capital.
Stop and search checks on kids hanging out on street corners found cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines and mephadrone according to figures released today.
Since the start of the year, around 100 children and young teens have been found in possession of drugs – 25 of whom were aged 15 and under.
The shocking statistics include a 12-year-old in Bathgate who was found with cannabis and a 16-year-old carrying cocaine in the city centre.
A number of kids were caught with mephedrone, the “legal high” which was made a Class B drug earlier this year.
The highest number of kids aged 15 and under were found with drugs in Bathgate, closely followed by Blackburn and Whitburn.
Schoolchildren caught out were more likely to be carrying cannabis and amphetamines than any other type of drug.
When children are found in possession of drugs, they are most likely to be cautioned and details of the incident sent to the children’s reporter.
But in some cases, a report could be sent to social services depending on the circumstances.
A spokesman from Lothian and Borders Police said that the force were doing their best to keep kids off drugs, but wouldn’t hesitate in coming down hard on offenders no matter their age.
He said: “We are committed to working with partners to tackle substance misuse among young people through a combination of early intervention and education.
“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 highly 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.
“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.”