This is a term which I first heard on Brookside, a few years ago, and it turns out that it is used widely in Northern England. I presume it is derived from scallywag, meaning scoundrel or cad. The word 'scally', however, does not sound as twee or old-fashioned as its original form. It has been suggested that the word 'scally' really means Liverpudlian. This cannot be the case as, on Brookside, we hear one Scouser calling another a 'scally'.

'Scallies' is the name applied to young ruffians. Usually they are between ten and twenty years old. They loiter round shopping centres in great gangs. They ride stolen bikes along the street. They wait outside newsagents' in the hope that some adult will buy their fags for them. They vandalise and steal. They swig Zeppelin Cider from vast plastic bottles.

There exist girl and boy scallies. The boys have a liking for two main styles of clothing. There are the mod scallies and the sporty scallies. Girl scallies all tend to go in for sports gear. The term 'Kappa slapper' was invented for girl scallies. They will wear a brightly-coloured track suit teamed with huge hoop earrings and hair sprayed stiff as a board

Contrary to popular belief, scallies are not a group of people to be feared. They may seem menacing but remember how young they are. Were you actually to threaten them, they would certainly run away. Enjoy laughing at them.