I was talking in the pub the other night to Gill, a good friend from the West Yorkshire market town of Ossett (population 21,000), who with her husband Glyn has a much-loved second home in rural Brittany. The couple had just come back on the ferry after a month at home, and Gill was not the bearer of good news.

Ossett, she says, is in crisis. It’s not just the shortage of good, well-paying jobs, or the lamentable state of the regional NHS, or the housing shortage, or inflation, or the condition of local schools – all of which weigh heavily on the local community. It is the fact that gangs of young people, some not yet into their teens, have gone feral, roaming the streets after school, intimidating women and the elderly while thieving anything they want from supermarkets and convenience stores.