According to the Daily Mail (which is always utterly reliable on such matters), immigrant gangs have been mutilating children before sending them to beg on the streets of Britain.
I have to say that I was extremely dissappointed by the Mail's reporting. Not because of any content, it was simply that there are so few opportunities to use the word comprachico in the world today that I really think they should have taken this one up.
A comprachico (from the Spanish child-buyer) is someone who mutilates children professionally. The idea was popularised by Victor Hugo in The Man Who Laughs. He's quite helpful on the subject, pointing out that "a dwarf must be started when he is small", which must, I suppose, be where Werner Herzog got the title for Even Dwarfs Started Small.
For any would-be comprachicos out there, the correct method for making a child a dwarf is to feed him a kind of moth called a knot grass. As Lysander says in Midsummer Night's Dream:
Get you gone, you dwarf,
You minimus, of hindering knot-grass made;
You bead, you acorn!
Alternatively you can use dwarf elder. If you're wondering why anybody would want to turn a child into a dwarf, the answer is that they were apparently very popular as jesters.
Anyway, there was a lovely word pining away for lack of use, and the Daily Mail left it there unused. Frankly, it makes me sick.
They did, though, manage to refer to it as a "twisted version of Oliver Twist", which just about makes up.
The Horologicon is a book of the strangest and most beautiful words in the English language arranged by the hour of the day when you will really need them. Words for breakfast, for commuting, for working, for dining, for drinking and for getting lost on the way home. It runs from uhtceare (sadness before dawn) to curtain lecture (a telling off given by your spouse in bed). It's out on November the first, but you can already order it from these lovely people: