UK police are planning to issue online warnings to young gamers hoping to deter them from a life of cybercrime, they revealed last week.

Officers planning a multimillion-pound cybercrime prevention drive identified a link between teenage gamers and cybercrime, warning that 82% of young people recruited by online criminals had developed their cybercrime skills through video gaming. Peter Goodman, chief constable at the Derbyshire Constabulary and cybercrime lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said many in this group were “on the autistic spectrum”.

In a statement sure to anger many young video game players, Goodman added that many of them lack any credibility or traction in the real world, and get their self-esteem from online gaming.

Kids will often cheat online, which sets up a dark path for them, he added:

It’s really easy to take the next step into sending malware to their school because they don’t like the way they are treated at school, or sending some malware to the local housing office and shutting them down because mum and dad haven’t got the house they want.