EIGHT pupils at a leading high school have been excluded after being caught with cannabis.

The pupils, all aged 15 or 16, were suspended from Bedale High School, North Yorkshire, on Tuesday.

Their parents have been spoken to by the school and North Yorkshire Police are investigating.

Headteacher Graham Turner did not want to comment yesterday and referred calls to North Yorkshire County Council.

A council spokesman said: "The students were excluded for periods of between ten and 20 days. They were in possession of relatively small amounts of cannabis.

"They are all aged 15 or 16 and the matter is being investigated by the police. All the parents of the boys involved have been seen and are supportive of the school's action.

"The council treats all cases of drug abuse very seriously and action will always be taken against those who have offended."

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: "I can confirm that we have an ongoing investigation at Bedale High School involving drugs."

One concerned parent, who did not want to be named, said: "There is a drug problem going on. A number of lads have been suspended, I think for up to a period of about three weeks for drug use during school time.

"These substances are actually being used during school periods. It seems kids are going behind the bicycle sheds with their reefers."

The school has about 800 pupils and was named a beacon school in 2000.