Thousands of under-18s caught drink-driving, records show
Thousands of under-18s have been caught drink-driving, police records show.
Records released by 43 UK police forces in response to a Freedom of Information request show 6,558 people aged under 18 were caught driving under the influence of alcohol between 2008 and 2013.
The figures, obtained by in-car camera provider Nextbase, found the youngest offender was aged 11, in the Thames Valley in 2011.
The government said drink-driving laws were being strengthened.
The records show that an average of five under-18s were caught drink-driving each week. Some of those under 18 were driving without insurance and a quarter were 16 or younger.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Under-age driving is illegal and no person under the age of 17 should be driving a car. We have tough laws in place to tackle those caught driving without a licence.
"Drink-driving is a menace that costs lives, and the government is strengthening the law to help police crack down on this problem."
The total number of under-age drink-driver incidents has fallen slightly year-on-year - Merseyside and Devon and Cornwall saw the greatest fall between 2012 and 2013.
However, a number of areas including North Yorkshire, West Mercia and Staffordshire saw an increase between 2012 and 2013.
The records showed the most severely affected region for under-age drink driving in England was Greater Manchester, where 409 people were arrested, including a number of 12-year-olds.
Other hotspots included Scotland, with 718 offenders, Hampshire (276 offenders), Devon and Cornwall (241) and Sussex (160).
|Breakdown of figures by force|
|Force||Arrests of under-18s 2008-13||Arrests of under-16s 2008-13||Youngest offender & year of offence|
|Greater Manchester||409||144||12 yrs old 2008|
|West Midlands||131||20||14 yrs old 2010|
|Thames Valley||159||38||11 yrs old 2011|
|Sussex||160||46||14 yrs old 2012|
|Hampshire||276||74||14 yrs old 2008, 2009 and 2011|
|Kent||96||17||15 yrs old 2011|
|Staffordshire||31||10||13 yrs old 2010|
|West Mercia||75||22||15 yrs old 2008|
|City of London||1||0||17 yrs old 2010|
|North Wales||149||21||14 yrs old 2008 and 2009|
|Cleveland (2013 only)||4||0||17 yrs old 2013|
|Metropolitan Police (2013 only)||26||5||16 yrs old 2013|
|Derbyshire (2012 and 2013 only)||28||6||15 yrs old 2012|
|Police Scotland||718||208||12 yrs old 2012|
|Merseyside||86||22||14 yrs old 2010|
|South Yorkshire||75||16||14 yrs old 2013|
|Northumbria||99||21||14 yrs old 2010|
|Cumbria||91||31||14 yrs old 2009 and 2011|
|Devon and Cornwall||241||53||15 yrs old 2011|
|Norfolk||68||17||14 yrs old 2011|
|North Yorkshire||104||29||15 yrs old 2013|
|West Yorkshire||165||40||14 yrs old 2010 and 2011|
|Suffolk||69||14||15 yrs old 2010 and 2011|
|Surrey||59||10||16 yrs old 08,09,10 and 12|
|Cambridgeshire||37||12||15 yrs old 09, 10 and 11|
|Gloucestershire||44||8||15 yrs old 2013|
|Hertfordshire||83||23||14 yrs old 2008|
|Lancashire (2010-13)||94||32||13 yrs old 2010|
|Leicestershire||84||28||15 yrs old 09, 10,12 and 13|
|Lincolnshire (2010-13)||41||13||15 yrs old 2010 and 2013|
|Northamptonshire||65||12||15 yrs old 2008|
|Nottinghamshire||139||36||14 yrs old 2009 and 2012|
|Avon and Somerset||130||31||13 yrs old 08,10, 11 and 12|
|Warwickshire||21||4||16 yrs old 2009|
|Northern Ireland||412||131||15 yrs old 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 12|
|Gwent||75||19||15 yrs old 2008, 2009 and 2013|
|South Wales||219||59||13 yrs old 2010|
|Dyfed-Powys||50||15||15 yrs old 2008 and 2013|
|Bedfordshire||69||11||15 yrs old 2011|
|Cheshire||136||35||14 yrs old 2009|
|Durham||296||72||14 yrs old 2009|
|Humberside||72||24||15 yrs old 09, 10 and 11|
|Wiltshire||53||19||14 yrs old 2010|