Crisp-munching boys become Britain's youngest burglars

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The Independent Online
Two boys aged four and five have earned the dubious distinction of being the country's youngest burglars after a householder returned home to find the diminutive would-be jewel thieves munching snacks and slurping soft drinks after having broken in through the kitchen door.

The culprits were young, but the scene greeting the woman who lived there was horribly reminiscent of any adult burglary. Valuables and food were scattered all over the floor and a broken window pane provided evidence of the crime.

The 37-year-old victim, of Kidderminster in Worcestershire, who asked not to be named, described what she had found when she returned home after visiting a friend. "They had drunk half a bottle of cherryade which they left on my bed. They had eaten a box of Terry's All Gold chocolates in the spare bedroom.

"They had taken five bags of crisps from the kitchen, had eaten most of them and scattered the rest over the sitting room floor. They had the jewellery in their hands and I presume they would have taken it," she said.

Describing the emotions of any householder whose home has been violated the woman, who had not previously been burgled in 13 years, said:"I just cried for the next two days - I was that upset somebody had been in my home and gone through my belongings. Much of the jewellery was of great sentimental value.

"I'm moving house soon and I'll be glad to get out of here," she added.

"When I confronted them the boys didn't say a word but their faces looked guilty. If they are behaving like this at that age what will they be like when they are 16?"

Local police confirmed that in the incident late last week the two boys had broken in through the kitchen door - probably using an ornamental garden duck to break the glass - and had searched most of the rooms of the three-bedroom semi- detached council house in Foley Park before they were confronted by the owner.

"It is a bit unbelievable really isn't it?" Inspector Andy Mackillop of Kidderminster police asked.

"I can't recall four- and five-year-olds being involved in something like this before. It is extraordinary for kids of this age to do that," he added.

After being interviewed, the children were given a "good dressing down" in front of their parents, he said, although because of their age no further action was being taken.

The four-year-old, who lives opposite the victim, received rougher justice from his family. His 41-year-old mother, who has five other children, admitted that she "smacked him with a belt when he came home".

"He has never done anything like this before and I felt very embarrassed," she said, adding, "My husband sent pounds 15 across to pay for the glass to be mended.

"I don't think he will do anything like that again - especially with the policeman coming here and having a word with him."