CHILDREN as young as 10 have been arrested for shoplifting in Glasgow stores, the Evening Times can today reveal.

Shocking official figures reveal that almost 500 youngsters have been nabbed by city cops in the past year.

Of those, 303 were aged between 11 and 15.

Perhaps most shocking is that six schoolchildren - aged just 10-years-old - were linked to the crimes.

The results - released to the Evening Times under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) - show that 34% of kids nicked for stealing from shops were between 16 and 17-years-old.

Police Scotland said: "The last thing a young person needs is to be involved in the criminal justice system early in their lives."

The FOI response reveals 482 under-18s were arrested in connection with shoplifting crimes, between June 2014 and May this year.

More than half of the children 275 arrested were aged between 13 and 15-years-old.

All crimes are alleged to have taken place at stories across the Greater Glasgow area in the past year.

The figures also reveal twelve of the arrested children were 11-years-old and more than 20 were 12-years-old, at the time they allegedly committed their crimes.

Some experts believe children are being forced to beg and steal by criminal gangs.

Last month, the anti-slavery commissioner warned "Oliver Twist scenarios" are taking place on Britain's streets as children are tasked with shoplifting and pickpocketing, .

Kevin Hyland said youngsters who should be at school are instead being used as part of criminal operations in cities.

He said: "We hear about young children being sent out to do shoplifting, pickpocketing and begging.

"These are young children who should be at school.

"We are in the 21st century and yet we have Oliver Twist scenarios happening in our streets and cities.

"It's pure criminality and abuse of children."

Police in Glasgow have vowed to get tough on shoplifters and more patrols are taking place in the city's Style Mile.

The city is the second biggest centre for shopping in Britain, after London's West End.

And senior officers have warned that all shops - including major stores and small independent shops - can fall victim to shoplifters.

Some stores are investing in what they call "revenue protection",while others have introduced store detectives and CCTV to protect their products.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "Shoplifiting is not a victimless crime - we all pay.

"Police Scotland works closely with retailers to ensure they are not targeted.

"It’s unfortunate for young people to be involved in crime at any level.

"Retailers almost always prosecute and the last thing a young person needs is to be involved in the criminal justice system early in their lives as this can have serious consequences for them later in life."