West Norfolk parents arrested over their 15 stone 11-year-old son

Latest health news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Latest health news from the Lynn News, lynnnews.co.uk, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter

The parents of a West Norfolk boy have been arrested because the 11-year-old weighs in at a massive 15st.

The story made national newspaper headlines last week as a 49-year-old man and the 44-year-old woman, who have not been named, were detained on suspicion of child cruelty and neglect.

But police have defended their handling of the case.

A Norfolk Police spokesman said: “When dealing with sensitive issues such as obesity and neglect of children, officers from the force’s Child Abuse Investigation Unit work closely with partners, significantly with both health care and social services, to ensure any response to address them are proportionate and necessary.

“Any action taken by any agency will be subject to a joint strategy between all partner agencies and will always be taken with the welfare of the child and their protection from harm as paramount.

“While it is inappropriate to comment on this case specifically, it is important to stress that intervention at this level is very rare and will only occur where other attempts to protect the child have been unsuccessful.”

Health and social services officials have also defended their handling of the case after it was highlighted in the Sun newspaper on Friday.

The report said the boy weighs 15st and has a body mass index which is almost twice a healthy level.

The paper also claimed that police were alerted to the boy’s case by staff at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

But director of nursing, Catherine Morgan, insisted the hospital had acted in the boy’s interests.

She said: “There are very clear guidelines in place to safeguard the interests of children and vulnerable adults which the hospital adheres to.

“This includes sharing information with our partner agencies as and when appropriate in the best interests of the individual, who will then take their own decision on any follow-up action they feel may be necessary.”

Meanwhile, Norfolk County Council’s children’s services department, who it was claimed were preparing to take the boy into care if the situation did not improve, said it could not comment on the individual case.

However, officials say rates of child obesity in West Norfolk are above both the county and national averages.

The authority’s figures show almost 21 per cent of year six school children in the borough are classed as obese, compared to 18.6 per cent in Norfolk and 18.9 per cent in England. And almost nine per cent of reception year pupils are also obese, in line with the national average.

A spokesman said: “Our priority will always be the health, well-being and safety of Norfolk’s children and we will always do all we can to support families to meet their children’s needs.”