Children as young as four and five are being recorded as rapists by West Midlands Police, the Birmingham Mail can reveal.
Shock official figures show 352 under-tens were deemed 'responsible' or 'suspected' of offences over three years including arson, robbery, burglary, criminal damage, shoplifting and theft.
Alarmingly, 40 under-tens were recorded as rapists in the Freedom of Information figures, including two boys aged just four. A further 84 children were suspected of being behind other sexual offences.
Bizarrely, infants were even linked to crimes, including a one-year-old girl for assault and a one-year-old boy for violence against the person.
None of the children faced charges because they are all under 10 - the age of criminal responsibility. The offences will be recorded against their names by police, but they will not have a criminal record.
For calendar years 2011 to 2013. Figures from West Midlands Police and include children deemed responsible for, 'probably' responsible for, or suspected of crimes. Choose a crime from the drop-down menu to see number of children.
When contacted by the Mail for comment, West Midlands Police's press office needed 24 hours to issue a statement - and then claimed there must be 'inaccuracies' in their own figures, published on the force website months ago.
The figures show 102 boys and girls aged ten and under were recorded as being responsible for, or were suspected of, breaking laws in 2011, rising to 126 in 2012 and then falling slightly to 124 last year.
The 2011 figures show 81 boys broke the law, 16 girls, and five listed as gender 'unknown'.
A total of 21 of the boys were linked to sexual offences including nine for rape; a five-year-old, two seven-year-olds, two aged eight, and four who were aged nine.
Two four-year-old boys were also recorded as having been in possession of a controlled drug and a five-year-old boy was said to have committed violence with injury.
Five schoolboys aged under nine committed burglaries, the youngest of them aged seven.
In 2012 the overall total of under-tens recorded by the force as having broken laws rose to 126, with 17 boys - including a four-year-old - and one nine-year-old schoolgirl accused of rape.
A total of 30 boys were said to have committed criminal damage, while 20 were suspected of 'other sexual offences' and 11 of assault. An eight and a nine-year-old were listed as carrying out robberies.
Astonishingly, West Midlands Police recorded an assault against a one-year-old baby girl in 2012 and a one-year-old boy was said to have committed violence against the person.
Even toddlers were recorded as having broken the law, with three two-year-old boys accused between them of committing an assault and two criminal damage offences.
Last year the overall child crime total was down slightly to 124, although that included a three-year high of 22 girls having broken the law, including ten believed to have committed 'other sexual offences' including one aged just five.
Out of the 100 boys listed, 34 were reported for 'other sexual offences', 22 for criminal damage and 13 for rape - including another four-year-old, a six-year-old and five seven-year-olds.
A two-year-old was said to be behind an assault, while a three-year-old was recorded as causing violence with injury.
The Freedom of Information statistics have been on the official force website since April, with an accompanying statement which read: "No child under the age of ten shall be guilty of a crime, however they can still commit an offence which will be recorded. Where a person is under the age of ten, West Midlands Police record this as Person Probably Responsible, Person Responsible, or Person Suspected."
When approached by the Mail, the force press office had initially said it suspected there must be inaccuracies in the figures relating to the one-year-olds and the four-year-olds.
The force's Head of Corporate Communications, Dan Barton, later told our reporter that the figures had to be wrong, because "a four-year-old cannot commit rape".
Eventually, the force released a statement which said of the FOI: "The response features information collated in good faith from millions of pieces of data stored on force systems which, on reflection, contains some inaccuracies as a result of human inputting errors at the time of the crime being recorded.
"The FOI response was released with the following caveat: Although every effort is made to ensure the figures presented are accurate and complete, the data collected is subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recorded system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.
"Data on ages is calculated from date of birth, which is input manually. Therefore inaccuracies may result from human error. However, in order to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we have disclosed the recorded data despite its inaccuracies."
When asked to specify the inaccuracies the force press office later issued a second statement - this time wrongly claiming the one-year-olds had been linked to sex offences.
It said: "The FOI stats referring to sex offences committed by two four-year-olds and two one-year-olds were inaccurate - incorrect dates of birth must have been inputted by the officers at the time and, as Dan explained to you yesterday, FOI returns do come with the caveat that although all efforts are made to ensure accuracy 'the data collected is subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recorded system...and that care should be taken when interpreting the data'.
"And as you can appreciate it would be unreasonable to ask us to go back to each individual officer to make checks in person."
In England and Wales the age of criminal responsibility, when children can be charged with offences and put in the dock, is ten - one of the lowest in Europe. Below that age they are considered to be "incapable of crime" because they are too young to understand right from wrong. In Germany, Italy and Russia the age of criminal responsibility is 14.
Some experts say that stigmatising young children by branding them as offenders increases the risk of future criminal behaviour.