Children as young as 13 have been caught with drugs at school in Lancashire, according to new figures.
A total of 31 narcotics offences have been logged by police on education premises in the county in just over three years.
One of those arrested was a parent who was found at a school with 20 benzodiazepine tranquiliser tablets, Lancashire Police have revealed. Another was a 17-year-old non-pupil apprehended on school property with a bag of cannabis.
Of the 31 offences made public in a Freedom of Information request, nine were on primary school premises, 18 were committed at high schools and the remaining four came on independent school property.
All but three involved quantities of cannabis. One was for cocaine and another was for possessing a bag of white powder found to be mephedrone, known as “bubble.”
The Lancashire figures were released as part of a nationwide survey by the Press Association into drug seizures at schools. More than 2,000 offences were revealed by 34 police forces dating back to 2011.
The youngest caught in possession of drugs was an eight-year-old in Staffordshire. Another was just nine. Only four out of 2,000 were under the age of 11. Amongst drugs confiscated were LSD, amphetamines, MDMA and ecstasy. Highest numbers came in Hampshire, Avon and Somerset and West Midlands.
Bob Stott, director of children’s services for Lancashire County Council, said: “Schools in Lancashire take a strong anti-drugs stance and we support them in this. But, with more than 630 schools in Lancashire alone and a school-age population of around 190,000, it is inevitable that there will be a small number of incidents.
“Although we take any incident involving drugs very seriously, it is encouraging to see that there were fewer incidents last year than in either of the previous two years.
“We work closely with the Lancashire Drug and Alcohol Action Team to support schools in delivering drug education across all key stages, including incident management, training for staff, parents and governors, pupil consultation and provision of resources.”
Teachers admit they are worried by the statistics. Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Any incident of drugs on school premises is worrying as it will often only be the tip of the iceberg of what young people are encountering on the streets. Teachers are always alert to the potential for young people being involved in drug or alcohol abuse.”