TWO teenagers looking in a park for lost drugs forced six younger boys to strip after wrongly suspecting they had picked them up, it is claimed.

They forced the boys, aged seven to 11, to shed their clothing, and threatened to kidnap them and break their legs if they did not comply, the boys told police.

The youngsters were then forced to crawl on their hands and knees, still naked, searching for the drugs, which they said one of the users later found in his own pocket.

The later stages of the incident were witnessed by a passer-by who confronted the teenagers, aged 16 or 17, who then fled.

The boys had gone to Barnes Park, in Sunderland, for a game of football at about 7pm on Thursday.

One of them, nursing a leg injury, said: "They said we had taken their gear. One of them said 'strip off or we'll break your legs'. They even forced me to take my bandage off."

His 30-year-old mother said: "Those who did this must be sick in the head."

After their ordeal, the boys fled the park, replacing their clothing as they ran.

Acting Detective Inspector Colin McCrudden, of Farringdon CID, said police were investigating a potential indecent assault.

One of the teenagers had a Liverpool accent but was believed to live locally. He wore a white top and blue tracksuit bottoms.

The other wore a blue cap, white tracksuit bottoms and a dark top.

Acting Det Insp McCrudden said: "A number of boys were told to take their clothes off by two youths, who, it was suggested, may have taken some kind of substance. It would appear they thought the children had concealed some of the drugs on themselves."