Youngsters are caught out of school

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MORE than a dozen young truants were rounded up in the run up to Christmas.

A joint operation by North Tyneside Council and Northumbria Police saw truancy sweeps take place in December across the North Shields area, particularly at the Silverlink shopping park.

More than 50 pupils of school age were stopped, many of whom were accompanied by their parents and had a genuine reason for missing school.

However, 13 were found to be truants, with their schools and parents being informed.

Coun David Lilly, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “We take unauthorised absence from school very seriously and work closely with pupils and parents to ensure they understand the significant consequences of regularly skipping school.

“Every day of education counts and when you fail to attend school even for just a day you have missed an opportunity to learn.

“Where parents continually allow their children to miss school, we will use the powers of the courts to take action, which could lead to a large fine or even imprisonment.”

North Shields Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector Geoff Cross said: “We regularly carry out this kind of operation with North Tyneside Council in order to safeguard young people.

“We know children who regularly fail to attend school not only put themselves at risk of becoming involved in committing crime or disorder, but also put themselves at risk of becoming a victim of crime themselves and we want to do all we can to prevent this happening.”

He added: “We will continue to remain committed to these joint truancy crackdowns in the coming year.”