Government warned of crime by truants

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Crime by children playing truant could double in the next five years and lead to a 'massive explosion' in lawlessness, the Government was told yesterday.

Official figures say 170,000-250,000 of the UK's 8,516,000 children aged 5 to 16 play truant but education welfare officers believe the real figure is nearer 500,000.

John Findlay, National and Local Government Officers' Association spokesman for social workers in education, said: 'Children playing truant are not necessarily going to become criminals but they are exposed to juvenile crime and many are sucked into it.'