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BIG MAC & BRIBES; EXCLUSIVE Police give burgers to hoodies.

Byline: BY TOM PETTIFOR

POLICE are bribing children with junk food to stay out of trouble.

Officers are handing out Positive Citizen cards to 12 to 17-year-olds that give 10 per cent off at McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

Children caught misbehaving will lose the privileges, which also include discounts at New Look clothes shop, HMV music store, a bowling alley and free DIY lessons at B&Q in an attempt to tackle antisocial behaviour.

But healthy eating campaigners blasted the scheme, launched by Sutton police in South London.

Richard Watts of the Children's Food Campaign said: "Research shows a bad diet can be one reason children misbehave. Improving diets is one way of getting them behaving better.

They should be encouraging healthy diets."

The Food Commission agreed: "It's completely ridiculous. This kind of food has been banned from school vending machines.

"Why haven't the police taken practical advice before launching this scheme? Why not give vouchers for healthy eating outlets?"

Sgt Stuart Taylor-Bard, of Sutton central safer neighbourhood team, said: "It will encourage youngsters to get to know us and give us the opportunity to work together to develop projects in the future."

Chief Insp Dave Gair said: "It's a new and innovative way to get young people involved in meaningful activity and break down the barriers between them and police."

McDonald's said: "The scheme is working to make the community a happier, safer place."

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 25, 2008
Words:241
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