23/09/2013 15:04 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

'Fagin' Beggars As Young As Three Terrorise Drinkers In Halloween Costumes

'Fagin' beggars as young as three terrorise drinkers in Halloween costumesRex

Police and social services are investigating claims that modern-day Fagins are forcing gangs of children as young as three to dress as trick or treaters to terrorise drinkers to hand over cash.

It's claimed the children are forced to beg in the pubs by unscrupulous adults who later pocket the proceeds.

The alarm has been raised in Liverpool, where one landlady claimed her pub had been targeted several times.

Sue Bristow, landlady of The Grapes, told ClickLiverpool: "These young kids come in asking for money and are quite abusive.

"They run in the pub demanding money, and even spit at customers and myself. This isn't a place for kids, and their relatives are stood about six feet away watching them get money. It's horrible.

"It's not the children's fault. It's the adults who are forcing them to go around begging for money."

A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: "During the Halloween and Bonfire Night period the Force has an operation in place to deal with all forms of anti-social behaviour.

"Children entering licensed premises to ask customers for money is classed as anti-social behaviour. Pubs and bars have conditions attached to their licences that include not allowing unaccompanied children and, in some cases, anyone under the age of 21 on their premises.

"Licensed premises that breach these conditions risk having their licenses reviewed or even withdrawn."

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