A nine-year-old boy has been arrested for drink-driving in Cumbria, police records have revealed.
Shocked police officers were forced to release the child when they discovered he was too young to be prosecuted.
Leading alcohol awareness charities have raised serious concerns about the dangers of underage drinking.
In March a three-year-old, who was regularly given alcohol over a six month period, was diagnosed as the UK’s youngest alcoholic.
The hospitalised toddler from the West Midlands, was one of 13 children who were diagnosed as alcoholics by the Heart of England NHS Trust between 2008 and 2010.
In February a six-year-old girl in Eastbourne was rushed to hospital after consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol.
And in January it was reported that a nine-year-old boy had been discovered to be an alcoholic, in a case that was described as “very serious”.
Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said earlier this year: “As long as alcohol remains as heavily promoted as it is, young drinkers will continue to consume far more than they might otherwise, leading to inevitable health issues.”
Last year a survey of England’s regional drinking habits found children as young as eleven were drinking the equivalent of nearly two bottles of wine a week.
The survey, released by the NHS Information Centre, measured the average alcohol consumption figures for children based on those who had drunk alcohol in the last week.
And the survey revealed that the North East was the worst performing region in England, with one in four 11 to 15-year-olds drinking.
Children who drink in the North East consume an average of nearly two bottles of wine a week or eight pints of lager.