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UK's youngest crime suspect is just 3

A three-year-old boy has become the youngest known crime suspect in Britain after being probed by police over alleged disorder and vandalism.

world Updated: Sep 20, 2009 19:58 IST

A three-year-old boy has become the youngest known crime suspect in Britain after being probed by police over alleged disorder and vandalism.

Officers from Strathclyde police in Scotland visited the toddler's home this summer after receiving a complaint of damage to household property.

The youngster is one of 10 children aged five and under who have been investigated since May for a variety of alleged crimes.

The news, which comes amid increasing concern in Britain over criminal behaviour among minors, was described by a leading opposition MP as "a clear manifestation of the first signs of offending".

"These instances underline the very deep social problems we have in some parts of the country. It is part of the very complex picture we call broken Britain," said Chris Grayling, the home affairs spokesman for the Conservative Party.

A six-year-old was arrested on suspicion of robbery in June this year and three other young boys, aged 12 and under, were arrested last week on suspicion of committing a sex attack on two young boys.

Another two boys, aged 12 and 10, caused outrage recently after they tortured two other boys in a bloody and remorseless attack.

Figures obtained by the Sunday Times this month show that more than 6,000 offences have been committed in Britain by children under 10 over the past three years.

These include nine-year-olds accused of rape and eight-year-olds believed to have caused grievous bodily harm. Other alleged offences included possession of knives, assaults, theft and burglaries.