A Leicester politician has revealed that there are male prostitutes or rent boys as young as 11 selling sex to men in the city’s parks.

Councillor Mark Farmer, spokesman on crime and disorder issues told his local newspaper, the Leicester Mercury that he has received reports of up to six children, aged between 11 and 13, working in the trade.

“The reports I have had are that there are about six children working and that they tend to know each other. Some are accessing support services, while others aren’t and are self-harming.” Mr Farmer added that those who engage in acts with these rent boys are paedophiles. “It’s scary to think children are out there selling their bodies. Let’s be clear – any man who pays for sex with a child is a paedophile, and should face the full force of the law.”

The council believe that some may have fallen into prostitution after they were physically abused at home whilst others may be selling their bodies to fund serious drug addictions.

Chaz Ram, a youth worker at the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Centre in Leicester, claimed to be unaware of the specific allegation made by Mr Farmer but said that it was most likely to be accurate. “It wouldn’t surprise me. There have been people of around 16 who have told us they were working for two or three years previously” the youth worker told the Leicester Mercury.

Inspector Bill Knopp, of Hinckley Road police station said the force had been aware of an 11-year-old rent boy working in the city approximately three years ago. He added, “We have no intelligence from officers or the community that this is happening now. So I’d encourage anyone with information to come forward. If this report is true, these boys would be treated as extremely vulnerable victims.”

Leicestershire police can be contacted on 0116 222 2222