A young autistic boy from Devon, England, has been left too scared to go outside to play after being targeted by a group of older bullies who forced him to "lick their shoes clean" or face being beaten. Just two weeks earlier he was the victim of a similar incident in which he was pushed into a stream.
April England has spoken out about the horror her 10-year-old autistic son Logan suffered at the hands of local bullies. Logan was surrounded by a group of teenagers while playing out with friends last Monday after school at Chestnut Park near their home in Wonford, Devon. Ms England explained how she had only just started allowing Logan out again after he was pushed into a stream two weeks earlier in a similar incident.
Logan's distraught mother said: "Logan was told to lick their shoes clean. They said if he didn't they would beat him up, starting with a kick in the face. "Obviously he did it because he didn't want to get beaten up.
"He had to do it to all the boys and then managed to get away and ran back home. It was horrible when he told me what happened to him. Logan is now not wanting to go out far from home."
Ms England said that although Logan "is quite intelligent, he is not good socially", finding it "extremely difficult" to make friends.
She added: "The bullies would have noticed there is something slightly different about him as he's not very socially switched on. I think they took advantage of that."
The devastated mum said she hasn't reported the incident to the police as "part of Logan's autism means he wouldn't be able to describe or recognise who they were".
Ms England is trying to raise awareness of a growing number of incidents concerning bullying and threats of violence in the local area.
She said: "I just don't feel safe allowing the kids to have a bit of freedom with friends. "It would be just awful if they were beaten up and would be so dangerous for my daughter to come to harm as she has a heart condition.
"These teenagers need a curfew and there needs to be more police in the parks and CCTV. "Teens think and know they can get away with this. I am just so worried to let my children out in case anything happens to them."