A 12-year-old boy was among five people who appeared in the Balfour magistrate's court in Mpumalanga yesterday - following the recovery of railway property worth R250000 on Monday morning.
The five were arrested after police constable Aniel Ramonda Poolaraj, acting on a tip-off, found three of the accused in possession of the railway property.
Shortly after Poolaraj arrested the three accused, including the boy, a man and a woman approached him and "offered" him a R10000 bribe.
"The couple asked the officer to take the money and release the child and one of the men," said Superintendent Abie Khoabane yesterday.
Poolaraj took the money - and immediately arrested the couple for bribery.
The accused were not asked to plead to charges of bribery and being in possession of suspected stolen property.
The child was referred to the Walter Sisulu Place of Safety in Gauteng.
"We are concerned that adults use children in criminal activities.
"Imagine what the boy will become at 18 years of age! He will be the champion of thieves," said Khoabane.
It is not clear what the railway property was going to be used for by the suspects.
l The case was postponed to March 6 and four of the accused were remanded in custody.