A nine-year-old boy has been discovered to be an alcoholic, in a case described as “very serious”.
The child is part of a family who had been causing havoc in their neighbourhood, generating around 13 complaints a month for criminal damage and vandalism.
However the youngster, who cannot be named, has been given medical help and is now said to have stopped drinking.
His addiction was discovered after officials from Brighton and Hove Council launched an inquiry into problem tenants.
“People were so intimidated by this family at least two neighbours moved away just to escape them,” senior anti-social behaviour officer Richard Jordan, of Brighton and Hove Council commented.
He continued: “They were a really chaotic family and in the middle of it all we learned the nine-year-old had a drink problem.
“To see someone this young with an alcohol dependency is extremely sad.”
Media reports say the boy and his three siblings were placed on restorative justice schemes, where they were made to speak to their victims.
Their mum was sent on parenting courses and given counselling and the family have now been taken off the council’s anti-social register.
Tom Scanlon, also from the council, said: “To have a child that young with an alcohol problem is very serious”.
Mr Scanlon also commented on a survey that showed 58 per cent of ten to 15 year-olds had drunk alcohol in Brighton and Hove. He said parents often supplied the alcohol, commenting: “They don’t realise the damage their children are doing to their bodies.”
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, although the survey also revealed that the region’s young people were the least likely to have taken cannabis.
And in October a report by an alcohol awareness charity showed “increasingly rampant” underage drinking is having a devastating impact on our society.
Amongst the report’s shocking findings, charity Alcohol Concern said that more girls than boys were admitted to hospital for alcohol problems between 2004 and 2009.
An average of 13 girls a day were admitted to hospital from A&E during the time period compared with 10 boys a day, according to the report.