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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 12:22 GMT
Asbowatch II: Wheel clamp terror
By Duncan Walker
BBC News Magazine

You can't just clamp cars because you want to. It's official. One man who did just that is among the latest recipients of an Asbo. The Magazine is keeping tabs.

It's been another busy few weeks for fans of the Asbo, or anti-social behaviour order. No sooner had it been announced that one third of all the orders were broken that new plans to up the war on yobs were unveiled.

Noise-makers, graffiti artists and litter louts will all be open to council-imposed fines under government proposals.

And Tony Blair said the number of special courts dealing with anti-social behaviour would be tripled, while witnesses in such cases would be offered greater protection.

Meanwhile, there was no let-up in the number of Asbos actually being issued. Here are some of the most original.

WHEEL CLAMP TERROR

In a case to warm the hearts of motorists everywhere, magistrates successfully turned the power of the Asbo against a rogue wheel clamper.

Wheel clamp
There's one less clamper in town...

A 38-year-old public "menace" from Portsmouth was handed a five-year order for "intimidating and harassing" drivers and "causing distress".

Not only was he clamping cars parked on land where he had no licence to operate, but he once impounded a police car.

He was also reported to have tried to clamp two cars as they performed three-point-turns.

He was believed to be one of the first clampers in the UK to be given an Asbo.

TWO'S COMPANY

A family accused of damaging property, driving recklessly, threatening neighbours and using abusive language have been banned from going out together.

Novel Asbos

After hearing of the plight of their neighbours on Merseyside, a court told the mother, father and three sons - aged 16 to 20 - they can only leave their homes in pairs.

They are also banned from meeting more than one friend at a time and face a 2300 to 0700 curfew.

A CCTV camera has been installed on their road to make sure they abide by the order.

The temporary Asbo, in force until a further court hearing on 6 December, is thought to be the first used against a whole family.

MUD SLINGING

It is often tearaway children who cause the most distress to their communities, a problem Asbos are frequently used to tackle - with orders tailored to the individual troublemaker.

Chicken and eggs
Eggs are for eating

In Atwick, Yorkshire, a 17-year-old youth has been banned from throwing mud at windows. Or eggs for that matter.

He has also been banned from causing damage to flowers and plant pots when entering gardens without the owner's permission.

Down in Warwickshire a 15-year-old boy known for his disruptive and aggressive behaviour has been banned from swearing and using violence, or threats of violence, against people "not of his household".

Quite what that means for people unfortunate enough to live with him is unclear.

PICNIC SITE SEX

There have been too many people enjoying the great outdoors in one corner of Lincolnshire.

Families visiting the Stickney picnic area on the A16 were upset to find they were sharing it with men meeting for casual sex.

After unsuccessfully trying to reclaim the area for villagers by holding a party there, residents decided to ask for Asbos to be handed to their unwanted guests.

"We've got a local guide troop that have been excluded from the picnic area because of the nature of these acts," said parish councillor Brian Wood.

Should it be decided that Asbos can be used to tackle the problem, locals will be asked to report any lewd acts they spot.

FOOTBALL CRAZY

"At one point I had 12 footballs which had been confiscated from him in barely two weeks," said a despairing policeman charged with tackling one soccer mad youngster's behaviour.

Not only did the 15-year-old use bus stops as goalposts, but he had no regard for the fact other people were trying to use the street he considered his pitch.

Arsenal and Man Utd players run for the ball
Should professional footballers get Asbos?

"It was not uncommon to see him in the middle of the road with traffic backed up in both directions while he kicked the ball 30 to 40ft up in the air," said the officer

Not any more - the County Durham youngster has been banned from playing football in the street, on pain of an Asbo-enforced punishment.

It is an idea which some want to see extended to the world of professional football.

Following the fracas which accompanied the recent Manchester United vs Arsenal game, Liberal Democrat Lord Dholakia said misbehaving stars should be made an example of.

"What happens on the football field is as important as what happens outside the grounds," he said.

Lord Dholakia asked a government spokesman: "If the Football Association, or for that matter those in charge, cannot take appropriate action, would you not recommend to the police the use of the government's much-publicised anti-social behaviour order against some of these people?"

SHAMELESS

A gang who intimidated residents of Gorton, Manchester, quickly turned on a glamorous new target when a TV crew arrived on their estate.

The crew of the hit Channel 4 series Shameless were "persistently interrupted" as they tried to film the series earlier this year.

Police were called and the youths identified - including 16-year-old Steven Birchall.

On Wednesday he was banned from acting anti-socially anywhere in England or Wales.




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