Girls aged nine caught throwing bricks on to M25

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The Independent Online

Two girls were caught by police throwing bricks at cars from a footbridge over the M25 - but had to be released because aged nine they were too young to be prosecuted.

Two girls were caught by police throwing bricks at cars from a footbridge over the M25 - but had to be released because aged nine they were too young to be prosecuted.

One of the pair was captured on CCTV hurling missiles at traffic near Merstham, Surrey. A driver rang 999 on his mobile phone after a brick shattered his windscreen, forcing him to pull over. Police quickly found the girls, but all they could do was take them home because they were younger than 10, the age of criminal responsibility.

Details of the incident on 11 May were released yesterday by Surrey Police, who said there had been a big increase in people throwing objects from motorway bridges.

In the first quarter of this year Surrey Police dealt with an average of 26 incidents a month - twice as many as in any of the past three years.

The force is fitting more CCTV cameras on bridges in an effort to catch the culprits. Officers believe children are responsible for most cases.

Chief Inspector Mark Clark, head of the county's traffic police, said officers were "appalled" when they realised how young the girls were. He said: "This really has to stop now before more people are killed or maimed." He added: "I appeal to parents of children who live within easy travelling distance of a motorway - please make sure your children are not participating in such a dangerous activity. There is always a danger of copycat incidents but we must warn everybody of the tremendous dangers being caused to innocent motorists.

"I warn both parents and their children who engage in this activity that prosecution for this very serious offence will always be our objective."

Detectives are still investigating the murder of Micky Little, 53, a lorry driver who died two months ago from head and chest injuries when he was hit by a brick thrown from a bridge over the M3 near Camberley, Surrey. They believe they may now have a new lead, after looking at links between the attack and an attempt to steal a Renault Clio near by on the same night.

The AA stressed the importance of not overreacting to what were isolated incidents. A spokeswoman said: "There have been very few deaths caused by objects being thrown from bridges. There are 1,000 people a year killed through speeding and 500 through drink-driving so it's very important we keep it [stone throwing] in perspective."