12-year-old arrested in attempt to drive across Australia

The boy had driven nearly 1,300 kilometers before being stopped by police

12-year-old arrested in attempt to drive across Australia

Image: Hinrich Bosemann/DPA/PA Images

Police in Australia have arrested a 12-year-old boy who was one third of the way through an attempt to drive his family’s car across Australia.

The unlicensed boy had driven more than 1,300km from his home in Kendall on the country’s eastern coast when he was stopped by traffic police.

He had been aiming to make it to the west coast city of Perth when he was pulled in near the remote outback mining town of Broken Hill.

Police said the boy may have been involved in an accident – adding that he was only pulled over because a bumper bar was dragging along the road.

The distance between Kendall and Perth stretches more than 4,100km.

The boy may have avoided suspicion from others during his journey because he appears older than his age.

Vamshi Reddy - the manager of petrol station where the boy stopped for fuel and left without paying - said he was "shocked" to hear he was only 12.

"When I saw him, he looked like a nice person who was maybe 19 or 20," he said.

Detective Inspector Kim Fehon told the Australian Associated Press that the boy’s parents had reported him missing immediately after he left home at 11:10am on Friday.

She said the boy had not only put his own life at risk but also the lives of other road users.

“He was lucky he had an escape [after the accident],” she said. “But so did all the motorists on the way from Kendall to Cobar. They all had a lucky day as well.”

The boy was arrested and was being held at Broken Hill Police Station ahead of his parent’s arrival.

Officials have released no details about why the boy wanted to drive to Perth or whether he would be charged with any crime.

It is likely he will face charges under the Young Offenders Act over three offences – including failure to pay for petrol and driving without a licence.