IT is perhaps a worrying sign of the times that children as young as five need to educated about the dangers of substance abuse.

But more worrying is that pupils at Intack Primary School in Blackburn seemingly knew more about the drugs culture in the area where they live than the police.

Today, the local constabulary admits that its policing deficiencies in Whitebirk led to people not telling officers what was going on, presumably because they got sick of waiting for something to be done.

Full marks to the police for reacting to that alarming discovery by giving the area its own dedicated beat bobby. And full marks again for reacting to the information, passed on by the children in the form of posters, that there was a bigger-than-expected drugs problem.

We hope that this disturbing series of events was a one-off but sadly, due to the pressures on our modern-day police, we suspect it isn't.

What is for certain is that the situation should not be allowed to occur again and the police, armed with the extra information their response has given them, should crack down and crack down hard on the dealers and users they now know about.

Then maybe we can return to that ideal world, which many of us enjoyed while we grew up, where children were allowed to retain their innocence and enjoy growing up -- at least until they reached secondary school.

Today is the first day back at school for children and teachers across large parts of East Lancashire and if anyone needs a story to inspire them to tackle all the trials that lie ahead then they should look no further than the Hoghton school which is starting from scratch after being burned to the ground by arsonists at the end of last term.

Three cheers for head Viv Clark and the staff, parents and pupils at Brindle Gregson Lane Primary School, Hoghton, for refusing to give in.