With the school summer holidays underway-Northamptonshire Police is urging parents and carers to be aware of the risk of their youngsters being groomed by criminal gangs.
Many prey on children to work for them as drug runners or to conceal weapons.
Officers are calling on mums and dads to speak to their youngsters about the dangers of getting involved in gangs and to be aware of who they’re mixing with during the school holidays.
Advice for children includes, never go off with a stranger, take things from them or get in a car with them, even if they seem familiar to you.
Make sure you tell parents where you are and if someone scares you, or makes you feel uncomfortable, asks you to do something or gives you gifts or money, go somewhere safe and remember to tell someone what has happened straight away.
Anyone who is worried about a child who they think may be being groomed by a gang is urged to contact the police for advice.
Most teenagers don’t commit crimes or get involved in gangs but it’s important to be aware of the signs that someone you know might be.
These can include…
Not hanging around with their usual friends
Coming home late or staying out more than usual
Being secretive and withdrawn
Hanging around with different people
Having unexplained injuries
Talking differently – for example using new slang words
Suddenly has a lot of money and can afford expensive things like phones and watches
Is wearing different and more expensive clothes