Mercy Shawn Mendes
2 October 2014, 06:06
Nearly 300 children across Hampshire have been caught drink-driving in the last six years.
Police figures show 276 under-18s have been arrested since 2008, including three 14-year-olds.
Across the UK, children as young as 11 and 12 are being caught drinking and driving, police records show.
An 11-year-old offender was apprehended in the Thames Valley area in 2011 while numerous 12-year-olds were stopped in Scotland in 2012 and in Manchester in 2008.
An average of 1,000 people aged under 18 have been convicted of drink-driving per year since 2008, according to police figures obtained by in-car camera provider Nextbase.
The statistics showed there were an average of five underage (18 years old or younger) drink-drivers caught each week since 2008.
Based on responses from 43 police forces following Freedom of Information Act requests, the figures covered the number of under-18 drink-drivers caught in the six years from 2008 to 2013.
Every one of the 43 forces had apprehended under-18 drink-drivers during the six years. The figures showed that the worst English region for underage drink-driving in this period was Greater Manchester where 409 under-18s were arrested.
Other hotspots included Scotland, with 718 drink-drive offenders from 2008 to 2013, Hampshire (276 offenders), Devon and Cornwall (241) and Sussex (160).
No figures were provided for Dorset Police.
Nextbase said the total number of underage drunk-driver incidents had fallen year-on-year, but a number of police areas had seen an increase from 2012 to 2013.
These included South Yorkshire (where a number of 14, 15 and 16-year-olds were caught in 2013) Northumbria, Thames Valley, Kent, North Yorkshire, West Mercia, Staffordshire, South Wales, Cheshire and Cambridgeshire.
Merseyside, Devon and Cornwall saw the greatest fall in offending individuals between 2012 and 2013.
A spokesman from one of the police force's Freedom of Information offices said the nature of drink-driving convictions in under-18s is such that they will often be found in conjunction with other convictions.
The cluster of offences committed by underage drink-drivers may include unlawful possession of a vehicle, driving without a licence, driving without insurance and illegal purchase of alcohol, as well as driving in excess of the legal limit.
Nextbase spokesman Bryn Brooker said:
``Uninsured drivers on UK roads pose a huge threat to the safety of the vast majority of responsible motorists and pedestrians.
``These threats come in many forms and today's findings go to show that it's not just those who illegally choose not to buy insurance. Motorists have to be aware of such threats and take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk.''