SOME of the best pictures in the Herald’s huge archive are of the young - laughing, playing sports, playing in the street, sharing moments with their friends.

And sometimes the paper has published photographs showing what happens when school pupils take over a Police Court for a few hours.

In this case, in May 1978, a youthful ‘thief’ was sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment for stealing a pen (right, top).

The roles of procurator fiscal, judge, defence lawyer, defendant and court officials at the court in Hamilton were all played by pupils from a local primary, St Anne’s. The ‘trial’ was arranged by a police constable as part of a lecture he had been giving the children on Scotland’s legal system.

The 11-year-old magistrate caused jaws to drop when he sentenced the 12-year-old accused to 30 days for the theft. When the defence lawyer, who had earlier tried to show that his client had unknowingly taken the pen, appealed against the severity of the sentence, the magistrate, no doubt entirely reasonably, immediately doubled it to 60 days.

“No-one should question my sentence”, he snapped at the hapless defendant. “You have been found guilty of stealing a pen from a Hamilton store and you must suffer the consequences. I am not a namby-pamby judge and I intend to stamp out shoplifting in this town because there is far too much of it.”

All things considered, the defendant must have been glad that a lengthy deportation to Australia was no longer a sentencing option available to the irritable, no-nonsense magistrate in front of him.

The picture at right (below) was taken in April 1982. The Priesthill Puppet Group had been helping underprivileged and handicapped in the Harringay area of north London.

The Evening Times reported that the group had been designing puppets and sending them to a London children’s aid group called Cats. The young people from Priesthill had already performed shows from Stirling to Solihull, Birmingham; they had staged a show at the Edinburgh Fringe, and had appeared on television and been interviewed on radio.

Later that year, the group, who were aged between 12 and 16, saved some £2,500 over several months in order to attend the internationally renowned Charleville-Mézières Puppet Festival in France.

Ten days before they were due to travel, however, they were told that they could not go. Angry parents directed their ire at Strathclyde Regional Council and, in the words of the Evening Times, “demanded to know who is pulling the strings”at the local authority.

A Herald photographer was on hand in April 1987 (main image, far right) when three children from Burnside Primary School looked cheerful as they took shelter beneath an umbrella as the janitor sprayed them with a hose.

The school was celebrating the success of a sponsored rainy-day count to raise money to supply water to Botswana, in southern Africa.