An 11-year-old boy in the rural English town of Shepton Mallet, Somerset, is allegedly responsible for nearly one-fifth of all crimes in the town. The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is believed to be responsible for 10 out of 50 crimes reported in November 2014.
According to a report from MSN, the boy has received a conditional discharge for seven of his crimes but is due to appear in court on the three remaining charges. Among others, the boy is being held responsible for crimes including arson and criminal damage.
The boy reportedly comes from a troubled home and was recently expelled from school. Some members of the community are compassionate towards the boy’s struggle. Karen Mercer, who owns a coffee and health food shop, said she knows the boy and is concerned for his welfare.
"As a community, we have the responsibility to help and to guide him, rather than to alienate and demonize him,” she said. “He is a bright young boy, he doesn't have to go down this road and if only one good thing comes from seeing this story in the papers, I hope he is given that help and guidance to be the best that he can be.”
Other neighbors are less sympathetic. A woman who didn’t want to be named said some locals have installed security cameras just because of the boy.
"He abuses us every time he sees us,” the anonymous woman said. "I would like to see him go somewhere where he is going to meet somebody who will tell him what is right or wrong.”