Five-year-old allegedly involved in break-and-enter

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A five-year-old boy is believed to be one of four children wanted over a break-and-enter into a home and car theft, as police desperately try to tackle youth crime in the Aussie bush.

Police allege the kindergartener joined three 12 years old boys on March 22 when they broke into a home in the northwestern NSW town of Bourke.

The home’s occupants allegedly woke to find their Mitsubishi Outlander had been stolen.

Police were called before the Mitsubishi was spotted travelling down a nearby road. A police chase began but was terminated due to safety concerns.

The car was abandoned at a local fishing reserve and seized for forensic examination.

The incident has shocked senior police with NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Rod Smith telling The Daily Telegraph the break-in showed the issues facing communities in the outback.

“From a police perspective, dealing with offenders of such a young age, we are extremely concerned about the level of supervision and parental guidance along with their care and wellbeing,” he said.

“The propensity for people who are meant to be caring for these kids to not hold them to account is very troublesome and we are seeing the perpetuation of the offending. This is leading kids down a very dangerous path.”

He said police in Bourke, Moree, Tamworth and Dubbo were all areas where youth crime was a major concern.

“In some cases, we’re finding parents and caregivers providing false alibis for these young people.”

Earlier this month, NSW Attorney-General Michael Daley was grilled in parliament on the youth crime wave largely engulfing regional and rural communities.

He said tackling the issue was about addressing the causes of crime by ensuring pastoral care was given to families, education initiatives and addressing drug and alcohol problems.

“There’s no easy fix. This won’t be done in a year or two or 10. These are very slow moving programs,” he said.

“What you need to do is to start now and make sure that you invest in and conceive of programs that will survive the decades through changes of government.”

Mr Daley said there were two separate working groups to tackle the growing youth crime wave, in addition to the one done created by Mr Minns which addresses growing levels of regional crime, which is being committed by both youth and adult offenders.

During estimates, Liberal MP Natasha Maclaren-Jones questioned which minister was ultimately responsible for lowering levels of youth crime, and accused the government of “passing the buck,” which Mr Daley rejected.

“But ultimately, you are the chief law officer of the state, the buck should stop with you,” she said.

Mr Daley said multiple ministerial offices had convened to put together a “multifaceted, co-ordinated response,” which included aspects of youth justice, out-of-home care, homelessness, and drug and alcohol policing.

-with NCA Newswire