PUPILS from Kidderminster and Bewdley schools will be fighting it out in court to decide a "bike theft" case - during the 20th anniversary of a mock trial contest.

Youngsters from King Charles I School, Comberton Road, Kidderminster and Bewdley High School and Sixth Form Centre, Stourport Road, will be among 200 pupils from 11 schools across Worcestershire to take part in the county heat of the 2014 school's mock trial competition.

Teams of 12 to 14 year olds will take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates, court staff and the defendant at the annual event which will be held on Saturday, March 8, at Worcester Magistrates' Court.

The contest is organised by the Citizenship Foundation, in partnership with the Magistrates' Association and enables students to learn about all aspects of the criminal justice system and develop confidence in personal skills such as public speaking, analysis techniques and working as a team. Youngsters also compete in court reporter and court artist competitions.

Contestants will take part in a specially written case in which the defendant is accused of dishonestly receiving a stolen bicycle.

It will be judged by local magistrates and legal professionals and awards will be presented to winners at Worcester Crown Court by HH Judge Robert Juckes, liaison judge, to the overall winning team and runners up, outstanding pupil and best bench of student magistrates. The press cup for best court reporter will be presented by Worcester News editor Peter John.

A spokeswoman for the organisers said: "‘This is an excellent opportunity for students to participate in a completely realistic legal scenario. It is challenging and stimulating and students gain a lot of knowledge, confidence and enjoyment from taking part."

The winning team will go forward to the regional finals in Nottingham in May, followed by the national final at Birmingham Magistrates' Court in June.