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Since the pandemic county lines drugs gangs have been exploiting younger children, former Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield has warned.

“It’s almost as if a generation of 15- and 16-year-olds was skipped by those who were looking to recruit and instead, they went to 13- and 14-year-olds, presumably, because they were more malleable.

“They could threaten and frighten them more and they’re less likely to be stopped by police,” Longfield, who founded think tank the Centre for Young Lives, told CYP Now.

She added that children are being targeted by gangs attempting to coerce them into involvement in crime both online and in the community.

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