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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 12:30 GMT
Fears voiced over 'noise' tactic
The NAS said autistic people have contacted it with concerns
The National Autistic Society (NAS) is warning that the use of high-pitched sounds to disperse groups of teenagers could upset autistic people nearby.

Shopkeepers in Leek are trialling the Mosquito, which emits a noise only audible to children and young adults.

The NAS says it has been contacted over concerns that autistic people have not been considered.

Staffordshire Moorlands Community Safety Partnership said there was a strict protocol for using the Mosquito.

Louise Corbett, NAS Autism Helpline manager, said those who have been in touch are worried about its use.

She said: "Many people with autism have very sensitive hearing and may become alarmed if a whistle is suddenly employed to dispel youths and they are in the general area.

It could cause them a great deal of distress
Louise Corbett, NAS Autism Helpline

"If they are at the train station or near a shop and hear such a noise it could cause them a great deal of distress."

Staffordshire Moorlands Community Safety Partnership said in a statement that the Mosquito is being tried out only where there is a history of anti-social behaviour.

"This is one of the tools available to combat nuisance behaviour. It should only be used when there is a problem in the area and should be used in short sharp bursts," the statement read.

"Under no circumstances should the Mosquito be used constantly or when there is not a clear problem."

'Dog whistle' to control youths
15 Feb 06 |  Staffordshire
Noise machine deters shop gangs
08 Nov 05 |  South East Wales

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