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'Chicken shop' drug gangs recruit children with food, inquiry finds

Monday 12th of August 2019 | Europe, United Kingdom
The Guardian
News

Excluded pupils particularly vulnerable to grooming, youth select committee told

Criminal “chicken shop gangs” are recruiting children to deal drugs with the offer of free food, a parliamentary investigation has found.

So-called chicken shop grooming was described in written evidence submitted to the youth select committee, which is investigating the UK’s knife crime epidemic.

Young people with experience of the criminal justice system said children who had been excluded from school were particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

“Some shared that their peers had been targeted by gangs outside of pupil referral units [PRUs], as well as outside sports centres,” the youth justice board of England and Wales reported in evidence.

“They also said that sometimes children are recruited through an offer of food (referred to as chicken shop gangs) and they felt that schools could do more to keep children in school as it could be a protective factor from gang involvement.”

Children’s charities confirmed the tactic was being used to lure children into a criminal lifestyle.

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