A ROSE-TINTED collective memory of the 'Blitz Spirit' ignores the prevalence of juvenile delinquency at the time, according to a North-East researcher.

Margot Scott, a research student in creative writing at Northumbria University, argues that reference to crime has been edited out of most people's recollections of the war years but, in fact, her research shows there is a harsh reality behind the myth of blanket social cohesion.

In her background research for a novel set in war-time South Shields, Ms Scott interviewed people who lived through the Blitz, examined oral history material and wartime newspapers, finding that the extreme conditions of the period sparked an increase in crime as well as cooperation among citizens.

She argues that her findings have links to contemporary concerns raised by the London Riots of 2012.

"There is a collective golden memory of the past but the local and national newspapers of the day tell a different story," she explained.

"The amount of juvenile crimes reported in local and national papers was unbelievable.

"The parallels with explanations of the London Riots - absent fathers, family break-down, boredom, and violent films or music - are striking.

"However, the underlying issue was poverty. People who were already poor and struggling were being squeezed by the surrounding conditions."

Her paper will be presented at a Master of Research Symposium at Northumbria University on Thursday, May 2 from 10.30am-7.30pm.