A disabled boy was held at knifepoint just hours before a 12-year-old with autism was targeted in a similar attack, the Gazette can reveal.
A 12-year-old boy has been arrested after allegedly holding two vulnerable children at knifepoint in separate incidents.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested along with another 12-year-old on suspicion of affray after an incident involving a 14-year-old autistic boy next to Orwell Close, in Biddick Hall, South Shields, last Tuesday, as reported previously by the Gazette.
It has now emerged that the 12-year-old was also arrested over an incident with a disabled teenager the previous day, and has since been released on bail.
The mother of the child who was allegedly attacked on the Monday claims her son was set upon near Orwell Close at about 6pm, when he was made to beg for forgiveness and had apples thrown at him.
She then claims he was approached by the same group at 8.45pm on Chesterton Road, when a Stanley knife was used to threaten him and he was again made to kneel down and apologise.
The mother, who did not wish to be named, said: “My son was playing at the top of Orwell Close with his friends, and two boys came along.
“The one who later pulled the knife out on him told him that he would punch him to the ground if he didn’t get on his hands and knees and beg.
“My son did as he asked, and ran to my friend’s house to report it to her. She told him to go home and report it to me, but the group got side-tracked and didn’t get the chance to tell me.
“Later, one of the boys pulled out a knife on my son and stopped him. He told him to get down on his hands and knees again and beg for forgiveness.
“My son was absolutely terrified, and we found out the next day that a similar attack had taken place.”
The disabled boy has been affected “in a huge way”, according to his mother.
She added: “Since it happened, my son has had so much fear in his eyes. It has affected him in a huge way.
“He doesn’t want to go anywhere outside without supervision and support from someone.
“I’ve noticed a difference in him, and he now only seems to feel safe outside when he wears a coat.
“It’s the middle of the summer, and he’s wearing a woolly hat and keeping himself covered up. He doesn’t want to be seen.
“He doesn’t know what anyone is capable of any more.
“I’ve spoken to the mother of the other child who was attacked as well, and he is in the same situation. The kids are like prisoners in their own homes at the moment.”
The incident on the Tuesday saw a 14-year-old beaten with sticks while a knife was held to his throat and others filmed the attack on their phones, according to the autistic boy’s mother.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At around 8.45pm on Monday, July 20, police received reports that a boy had been threatened on Chesterton Road in South Shields.
“A second incident was then reported to police at 2.36pm on Tuesday, July 21, after a different child was threatened by a group of boys in Orwell Close in South Shields.
“Inquiries were carried out and two boys, both aged 12, were arrested on suspicion of affray. One of the boys was also arrested in connection with the incident on Chesterton Road. Both boys have been bailed pending further enquiries.
“A third boy, aged 13, has attended a police station and is assisting officers with their enquiries (relating to the second incident).”