CHILDREN as young as nine have been caught with drugs on school premises – with overall numbers of incidents increasing by more than a quarter in four years, an investigation has found.

In the Dyfed-Powys area, drugs have been seized from schools more than 80 times in four years.

More than 2,600 cases involving drugs on school grounds were reported to police in England and Wales between 2016 and 2019, according to data released to the PA news agency under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws.

The majority of cases involved possession of drugs on school premises, but there were other cases of supply – a more serious offence – as well as drugs trafficking, a key indicator of ‘county lines’ activity.

In the Dyfed Powys Police area, from 2016 to 2019, there were 82 seizures of illegal substances from school premises.

The majority of seizures in Dyfed Powys were for cannabis, but amphetamines were also seized.

Three of the drug seizures were made in primary school, 75 at secondary school and four from specialist schools.

Of the seizures, 77 were from pupils, while five were described as being ‘other’.

But as a result of the systems adopted by Dyfed-Powys Police in relation to the recording of such information, it admitted the information released may or carry inaccuracies.

Headteachers said it is “rare” for drugs to be brought on to premises, but added schools are concerned about young people being coerced into dealing by gangs.

Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for children and young people said: “It is essential for schools and colleges to work in partnership with local officers alongside youth and family support services for support and advice and where required, operational intervention, if a pupil or student is found to have brought drugs into school or college.

“The guidance includes detailed advice for staff on what they should do if drugs are found at a school or college premises and if a student is found in possession.”