A work-experience teenager at Newsquest‘s Southern Daily Echo scooped the front page while on a two-week placement from school.
Finn Quinn, 15, of Hamble, Hampshire, brought in his own exclusive after his great uncle had his car number plate stolen and was told by the police the crime had been fuelled by the petrol crisis.
The police explained to his uncle that criminals put the number plates over their own, before filling up on petrol and driving off without paying, avoiding detection by CCTV cameras, and added it was becoming such a big problem across Hampshire they were launching an investigation.
Finn was then instructed by The Echo news editor, Gordon Sutter, to check with the police, write up the story and organise a picture to be taken of his relation.
Finn’s father, John, is a former Mail on Sunday staffer who owned Solent News and Bournemouth News agencies, and brother Ben Ellery is a trainee reporter on the Basingstoke Gazette.
‘I wrote the story and would have been happy had it just appeared in the paper, let alone with my name and on the front page,’he said. ‘I’m still young and not sure exactly what I want to do, but I did have a fantastic time on the Daily Echo and the experience really whetted my appetite for a career in journalism.”
Ian Murray, editor of the Daily Echo, said: ‘It’s a fantastic achievement and in living memory
I can’t think of anyone on work experience getting a front-page splash.
‘It wasn’t just a question of making some calls, Finn actually brought the story in. Obviously we had someone working on it to cross the ‘t’s and dot the ‘i’s, but he dug it up himself. It’s very impressive and he’s got a bright future.”