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Mugger aged five won't be charged.

BRITAIN'S youngest mugger will escape prosecution - because he's just five years old.

The tiny terror, with a nine-year-old accomplice, tried to snatch an elderly woman's handbag.

The crime shocked hardened detectives, who say the boy is the youngest they have ever arrested for a street robbery.

But the law says both boys are below the age of criminal responsibility and cannot face prosecution for the mugging, in Mexborough, near Rotherham, Yorkshire, over the Easter weekend.

Shocked eyewitness Diane Dixon, who was driving past the scene with her family, said: "We saw two young boys trying to snatch a handbag from an elderly lady.

"We stopped them and, when we began to call the police on a mobile phone, they ran off.

"But we were able to follow them in the car until the police arrived. They took both boys to a police station.

"I asked the boys how they would feel if their granny was mugged and one replied, 'Wouldn't care'.

"The incident made me really angry and it is sad nothing can be done to them."

Detective Inspector Tony Shelton, of Mexborough CID, said: "To catch someone as young as this committing a street robbery is very unusual but the law says they are too young to be prosecuted.

"However, although they cannot be charged, we will not be leaving it at that.

"We will spend some time with the boys and their parents to explain the error of their ways. We will also be liaising with social services about the boys' futures."

Under English law, children under 10 are deemed below the age of criminal responsibility. Many campaigners believe the age should be lowered.

In Scotland the age of criminal responsibility is eight.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 26, 2000
Words:285
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