A TEENAGE girl who went from being a high-achiever to a suspect in 30 crimes was feared to be the victim of exploitation.

The teenager was part of a group of children in Westmorland and Furness who were regularly going missing and becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.

The girl was described as a high achiever in school but earlier this year began regularly going missing and displaying 'challenging' behaviour.

She was reported missing 27 times in May and June and was a suspect in crimes including burglary, criminal damage and assault on an emergency worker.

Her story has been shared by the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership after authorities intervened in response to her situation.

The CSCP said: "During May and June there was some issues with a group of children who were regularly going missing and becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.

"To address this a joined up approach was needed with everyone working with the children and young people involved. One child in particular was coming to increasing police attention, a 13 year old female who had gone from being a high achiever in school to displaying challenging behaviour and anti-social behaviour within the community.

"They first came to the attention of the Child Centred Policing Team in March 2023 and interventions were put in place. 

"However, unfortunately behaviours continued to escalate quickly despite the intervention and in May and June they were reported missing a total of 27 times and in a short period of time featured as a suspect in 30 crimes including assault, assault emergency worker, burglary, theft, criminal damage, and public order."

Police, children's services and  Youth Justice Services alongside other agencies were involved in addressing the situation.

Police put in a curfew, bail conditions and issued a child exploitation warning letter.

A child exploitation worker from the Complex Safeguarding Team was allocated to work with the child due to worries about exploitation when she was missing.

Authorities said they ensured the child was 'heard' during the process, leading to an upturn in her behaviour.

The child is said to not have been reported missing since the end of June while the number of crimes have 'significantly reduced'.

"The multi-agency response provided to this child and the wider group have seen a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour and missing from home within the area," the partnership said.

"It is acknowledged that without the intense support being provided and the relationship between the child and their child exploitation worker this progress may not have been possible."