I went to the local convenience shop a few minutes ago and found a group of some half a dozen girls ranging in age from five to eleven at a guess, milling around the doorway, swearing like troopers and generally being a nuisance.
It was striking that they all seemed to be wearing quite professionally applied make-up and several had their long hair piled on top as a woman would to attend a formal evening function.
Anyway, one of them seemed reluctant to enter the shop without the permission of the shop-keeper, a very good friend of mine.
This particular youngster was banned from the shop apparently and when the shop-keeper reminded her of this fact she said:-
"Let me in or I'll say you tried to rape me, you paki bastard".
I was taken aback by this and the fact must have registered on my face as the shop-keeper looked at me and said:-
"Not bad for a six year old?"
While I was being served he told me that she was banned because she was an inveterate shop thief who, when challenged, would shrug her shoulders and say "so what, you can't do anything to me. I'm not ten yet."
I offer no judgement on their parents / guardians, other than to say, as I have done on many occasions before, that there are times in the Youth Court when I'd rather be sentencing the parents than the defendant.
Who'd be a small shop-keeper?