An interesting snippet from the archives shows juvenile crime is not a new phenomenon.

It was reported in the West Sussex Gazette and South of England Advertiser on August 12, 1937, that two boys aged 11 and 12 were charged at a children’s court in Farnham with breaking and entering a house at Lower Hale and stealing property valued at £1 belonging to James Anderson. 

The boys were caught as they jumped from a window and Police Constable Robinson gave evidence that the older boy said: “I have been pinching and raiding this house.

“I broke the window. When I come out you want to watch the banks. I am a tough guy.” 

Asked why he was carrying a large stone in his hip pocket, he replied: “That is in case of accident.

“You never know what is going to happen when you go into these places.”

The lads were fined 7s 6d each and the magistrates directed their pocket money should be stopped until they paid the fines.

Judging by the boy’s comments, it’s easy to think he could have been influenced by the gangster movies of the time and maybe one of the most acclaimed actors of the era famed for his “tough guy” roles – Jimmy Cagney (pictured).