The Sun

500,000 hoodies in gangs

Political Correspondent

Gangs of "hoodies" roam the streets.

HALF a million youths are members of gangs involved in drug-taking and binge drinking, shock Government findings revealed yesterday.

Some roam in mobs of up to 50 bent on “threatening or frightening people”, the Home Office research shows.

Many also recruit kids as young as TEN.

The bombshell report highlights how nearly one in three gang members committed at least SIX crimes last year.

And more than HALF of gangs use drugs.

Factors most strongly associated with being in a mob were pals in trouble with police, running away from home and regularly being drunk.

Last night, Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: “Tony Blair once said he would be tough on the causes of crime.

“It is self-evident that the bad influence of delinquent groups leads many youngsters astray.

“The sheer number of youngsters who fall under this spell is a condemnation of Government failure to prevent youth crime.”

The report says: “Six per cent of young people aged ten to 19 are classified as belonging to a delinquent youth group”.

There are 7.5million between ten and 19 in Britain, meaning a staggering 467,000 are in gangs.

Membership was highest among those aged 14 or 15, with around 187,500 involved.

About 142,000 16 and 17-year-olds are also gang members.

Four in ten kids surveyed who are in gangs said their group had threatened or frightened people. And 51 per cent had used drugs together.