X Factor 2010 winner Matt Cardle has confessed that he landed in trouble with the police at the age of 11 after he took a gun to school.

The 28-year-old Essex boy told The Sun that his mother turned him in after discovering that he was carrying the weapon.

“I was at a posh private school in Essex, then my dad got made redundant and we went to the local school down the road,’ Matt said. “I went round to a mate’s house and he said he had a gun.

“He was worried his dad had rumbled him and was searching for it. I gave him my dad’s fishing knife and a tenner in a swap deal.

Matt then recalled that he took the gun to the lab at school to try and free a piece of metal stuck in the barrel – but was caught by the headmaster.

“We were hoping to free the barrel so we could shoot real bullets. I don’t know what we were thinking,” explained the singer.

“Where the hell was some posh kid from Essex going to get a bullet from? It didn’t work and the older lads took it from me and were running round pretending to shoot it,” he added.

Matt was eventually taken to the police station by his mother – but refused to confess to the crime until she broke down in tears.

“I’d been watching loads of The Bill and there I was, sat with my mum, being asked where I got it,” he said. I said, ‘No comment’, thinking I’m cool. I said it about four times and then my mum started crying.

“I crumbled and told them who gave it to me. He got a telling off, I got a telling off and a couple of weeks’ suspension from school. It could have been worse.”

The singer – who beat Rebecca Ferguson in the 2010 final of the show – will release his debut album Letters on October 17 while his new single Run For Your Life is out on October 9.