Moment cub scouts as young as seven dodge traffic on dark country lane after getting lost on map reading exercise that was only supposed to be one mile
- Youngsters sent on unsupervised hike end up on busy 40mph road in darkness
- Ex-police officer who stepped in to save them slams ‘very irresponsible’ troop
This is the terrifying moment dozens of cub scouts as young as seven were ‘nearly killed’ after they got lost on a map-reading exercise.
Shocking CCTV footage shows the scared youngsters dodging cars on a busy country lane just off the A44 in Worcestershire in pitch-darkness.
Parents have slammed the leaders of the 10th Worcester Cub group after the children were found wandering the 40mph road unsupervised – with a former police officer intervening to keep them safe.
During a map reading exercise on Monday October 2, the cubs were told to walk from their scout hut in Lower Broadheath, Worcester, to Elgar’s Birthplace – just under a mile away.
But shocked residents spotted up to 30 of the terrified cub scouts dodging traffic as they tried to find their way.
Some of the children, wearing reflective clothing, can be seen huddled at the near side of the road – while others appear to be standing on the verge on the far side
Cars passed along the road within inches of the children as they stood on the verges of the road in Worcestershire
Ex-police officer Simon Middleweek saw the children in the helpless position – and ran out of his house to help them. He described the situation as ‘horrendous’
Footage shows a group of young children huddled together after getting lost in Lower Broadheath near Worcester, running across the road as cars thundered past at around 8pm.
Former police officer Simon Middleweek, 62, spotted the children on the road and ran out of his house to help them.
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He said: ‘It was horrendous. There was a group of 20 to 30 children attempting to navigate Crown East Lane.
‘The road has no paths or lighting and it was night time. I’m surprised someone wasn’t killed.
‘They were trying to dodge the traffic, in the rain and with no adults with them.
‘I went out and used one of their radios to speak to someone and a few minutes later a girl came running down the road.
‘These young kids have been put at risk. They have been let down by the people who should be looking after them. It was very irresponsible.
‘The cubs had been given maps and told to make their way to Elgar’s birthplace but they got lost walking across a field and ended up on the road.
‘My understanding is the parents had no idea this was going to take place and thought the cubs would be doing navigation work in a small enclosed paddock next to the scout hut.
‘We have carried out lots of research on speeding on this road and we have 5,000 cars a day going up and down with 68 per cent of them speeding.
‘It was a miracle none of the kids were killed.’
One ‘horrified’ parent said she only found out what had happened when her child returned home from the evening in tears.
Another said he was ‘extremely angry’ and the Cub leaders had made a ‘massive error’.
Jeremy Wilkinson, whose son, age ten, was on the hike, said he was ‘extremely angry’ when he found out what happened.
He fumed: ‘We weren’t told they would be on their own.
‘We assumed there would have been leaders with each pack. I wanted to have been out there helping them.
‘Some of the children are as young as seven and it’s a very fast road. They’ve made a massive error and there has been no explanation.’
Mr Middleweek can be seen in the footage going out to the children and checking on them
The 10th Worcester (Crown East) Scout Group is based out of this building close to the A44. It has defended the exercise
Another parent said: ‘We haven’t received an apology, haven’t been invited to a meeting to discuss what happened and haven’t been told how things will be put right.
‘A child could have been killed on that road.
‘I’m horrified at what could have happened to our children, there wasn’t a leader in sight.
‘Thank heavens for Simon – if he hadn’t noticed the children, anything could have happened.
‘The only reason I know about it was my child being upset once he returned home, having been told off by the leaders for not using their radio and ‘messing around on the road’.
‘Had an adult been present it wouldn’t have happened. I honestly think a child could have been killed on that fast road.’
The Cub Scouts defended the exercise, saying the event was ‘risk assessed’.
A spokesperson said: ‘The event had been fully risk assessed and the Cubs had access to torches, high visibility jackets and direct radio contact to volunteer leaders who were waiting at the next meeting spot a short distance away.
‘After a misunderstanding with a local resident the young people contacted the leaders and met up with them a short time later.
‘The safety of young people in our care is our number one priority at Scouts and we can confirm parental consent and all risk assessments were in place for the activity ensuring the young people were safe and appropriately equipped throughout the session.’
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