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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Anti-social OAP faces jail
87-year-old Alexander Muat
Muat drove his car at neighbours, the court heard
An 87-year-old man is believed to be the oldest person in the UK to have been made the subject of an anti-social behaviour order.

Alexander Muat faces jail after a court heard he drove his car at neighbours and children in his Merseyside street and installed CCTV cameras to film them.

The great-grandfather and widower has been told he will be sent to prison if he shouts, swears or makes sarcastic remarks to neighbours or their visitors.

However, his solicitor said he plans to appeal against the ruling, saying Muat installed the cameras in 2001 to prove his claims residents had vandalised his property.

Magistrates decided on Tuesday that Alexander Muat had harassed and verbally abused residents in Bowring Park Avenue, Bowring Park, Merseyside.

The conditions - whilst stringent - set Mr Muat clear guidelines of what is acceptable behaviour within a community
Sergeant Mark Stanton, Merseyside Police

Sergeant Mark Stanton, of Merseyside Police, said the decision to bring the action against Muat "had not been taken lightly" and was intended to protect residents from "further intimidation and abuse by [him]".

But Muat's solicitor Julian Linskill said bringing the action was unjustified.

"This is probably the first example since 1998 of this law being used against an octogenarian to resolve what is effectively a neighbourhood dispute," he said.

'Blameless life'

"My understanding of the reasons for the introduction of the law is it was intended to target gangs or youths and hooligans.

"Now it is being used against an 87-year-old widower who lives alone and who has led a blameless life, served his country during the war and now finds himself a subject of these constraints."

He said the "bright, intelligent man" claimed he had suffered criminal damage, abuse, and physical attacks from residents and had installed CCTV cameras after police told him to produce evidence to back up his allegations.

'Exacerbated problems'

The court heard the problems began in 1996 after his neighbour, a police officer, applied to build an extension.

Muat claimed he was harassed and video was shown to the court of his neighbour trampling on his flowerbeds.

But District Judge DJ Morris said it was Muat who had "exacerbated problems" and imposed the three-year anti-social behaviour order.

Mr Stanton added: "The conditions - whilst stringent - set Mr Muat clear guidelines of what is acceptable behaviour within a community."

The BBC's Abbie Jones
"Residents say he made life in the street miserable"

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