A GROUP of nuns are among a dozen people to be arrested so far and charged in connection with allegations of horrific abuse at a children’s home.

Detectives revealed that the youngest of those charged is aged 62 while the oldest is 85 years old.

In all 11 women and a man have been arrested over the historical claims centring on the now notorious Smyllum Park orphanage in Lanark.

The home, formerly run by Catholic order, Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, is now closed.

It is understood among those charged are nuns and former lay members of staff.

Police Scotland said further charges were expected to be levelled imminently as part of their investigation.

In a statement issued yesterday, police said: "Twelve people, 11 women and one man, ages ranging from 62 to 85 years, have been arrested and charged in connection with the non-recent abuse of children.

“All are subject of reports to Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal.

“A further four individuals will be reported today. Enquiries are continuing, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Claims of abuse have previously formed part of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.

There it was claimed children had been beaten, humiliated and even forced to eat their own vomit.

The spectre of a child being punished and later dying was also raised amid claims it acted like a ‘concentration camp’.

A report into Smyllum by inquiry chair Lady Smith, a High Court judge, is anticipated to follow within days.

Last night the Crown Office also confirmed it had engaged an ‘expert team’ to lead their investigations.

They said: “As part of our response to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry, COPFS instructed Police Scotland to carry out investigations into allegations of abuse at care institutions in Scotland.

“As a result of those investigations COPFS received information from Police Scotland which was considered by our expert team, in consultation with Police Scotland, and it was determined that further investigation was required into allegations against a number of individuals relating to the Daughters of Charity.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”

Police Scotland said they still wanted to her from other potential witnesses or victims.

Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Taylor, of the National Child Abuse Investigation Unit, said: "Investigating child abuse offences is highly complex and every care is taken to ensure that enquiries are proportionate, appropriate and that victims’ needs are central to our investigations.

“If you or anyone you know has been a victim of abuse or wishes to report abuse you should feel confident in reporting to Police Scotland.

“We will listen and we will take action regardless of when or where the abuse occurred."