The film follows the fortunes of a 17 year old, Del (Del Walker) and his group of friends. As the film opens four youths (Del, Roy, Chris and Geoff) are seen breaking into a cafe in Stratford, East London, but they only get away with about ninepence and some cake, and it is clear that they are hardly master criminals. Back at their hut on waste ground they mention Jo (Sam Shepherd), known as 'Bronco Bullfrog' (for reasons which are never explained), who has just got out of Borstal.
Once Del and Roy (Chris and Geoff are hardly seen again in the film) meet Jo in a caff, they link up with him to carry out a bigger robbery. Meanwhile Del meets Irene (Anne Gooding), a friend of a cousin of Chris', and they start a relationship, despite the disapproval of Irene's mother and Del's father. The remainder of the film follows Del and Irene as they attempt to escape their dead-end lives