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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 10:39 GMT
Asbowatch IV: Behind the mask
By Duncan Walker
BBC News

Pigs
Pigs: Off the Asbo menu for now (see below)
Asbos - anti-social behaviour orders - are a cornerstone of the government's onslaught on crime. The civil orders are tailored to individual troublemakers in a bid to stamp out bad behaviour in communities.

The specific nature of each Asbo can make interesting reading, as the latest batch of examples below illustrates.

'JUST GOOD FRIENDS'

When two elderly men did their little bit for community relations, it failed to impress fellow residents of their sheltered accommodation.

Prostitute takes money
The men say the women were not entertaining clients
Police were called to their flats in Edgbaston, Birmingham, amid complaints that they were being used by drug-taking prostitutes.

The pair reportedly claimed that they had simply made "friends" with the call girls and that they were not bringing back any clients.

The men, aged 67 and 64, were given an interim Asbo preventing them from having any further contact with the women and have been warned they could be evicted from the housing scheme.

BEHIND THE MASK

A man with a fetish for surgical masks is now behind bars and banned from all NHS premises in the UK.

ASBO UPDATE
Jan 05: 100th 'special response' magistrate court opened in Hastings, to fast-track Asbo cases
Dec 04: Probation union Napo says people breaching Asbos can go to jail, though original offence did not justify a sentence
Described as a "menace" by a judge at Leeds Crown Court, Norman Hutchins, 53, of York, would tell staff he needed the masks for amateur dramatics or charity fun runs.

Hutchins, who pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception, using threatening and abusive behaviour and possessing a knife, was said to have hounded NHS staff 47 times in five months.

After his three-year prison sentence ends he will have to abide by the terms of the Asbo - which also bans him from all private medical practices.

COWBOY BLUES

Advertising in newspapers as "Jak - a building contractor", David Flaherty was not all he claimed to be.

David Flaherty
David Flaherty admitted deception and theft
The 40-year-old Mancunian offered extensions at a fixed price, but simply took homeowners' money without doing the work.

The cowboy contractor, who "preyed on the trust and gullibility of others" and has 56 previous convictions, admitted at Mold Crown Court to three offences of deception and one of a 13,000 theft.

In addition to a three-and-a-half year jail sentence he was handed an Asbo banning him advertising his services, or working in the building industry - unless it is for a bona fide construction company.

'I'M ROUND THE BACK'

The walk home has got a little bit longer for one angry young man, who has been banned from his own street for four years.

Novel Asbos

While 17-year-old Luke Davies is still allowed to live at his house in Cwmbran, south Wales, he can only come and go via a back alley.

His Asbo was imposed after magistrates heard he harassed his neighbours, attacked homes, shouted obscenities and had to be subdued by police with CS gas.

The prosecution said Davies, who did not contest the order, needed to be kept away from fellow residents, so they could "live their lives freely".

NEVER TOO YOUNG - OR OLD

Reports that they fired at residents, windows and cars, did not bode well for a pair of 10-year-old twins in Norfolk.

Neither did things improve for the boys when they were accused of peering in windows, shouting abuse, swearing, fighting and playing loud music.

Jon Smee
Jon Smee became one of Britain's youngest drink-drivers

Unimpressed magistrates decided to hand the brothers an interim Asbo aimed at ending their unruly behaviour - making them the youngest known recipients of such an order.

A little older, but not a great deal wiser, is 13-year-old Jon Smee, who was sentenced to four months youth custody after being convicted as one of Britain's youngest known drink-drivers.

Smee, who was driving a stolen car being chased by police, had been banned from driving twice before. He also had a supervision order and an Asbo, which was handed down for criminal damage and racially aggravated behaviour.

Noting that none of these measures had seemed to work, magistrates in Salford decided custody was the way forward.

At the other end of the scale, a 74-year-old accused of abusing her neighbours is thought to have become the oldest woman to receive an Asbo.

She has been told to stop verbally abusing them. And to stop writing the poison pen letters.

TROUGH JUSTICE

Finally, some good news for the Norfolk farmer accused of breaching an interim Asbo when his pigs kept escaping will no longer have to face trial, according to his lawyer.

Brian Hagan, 62, had been facing a tough penalty after his animals allegedly ignored the order - designed to protect his neighbours' property.

Police and the local council were due to make the Asbo permanent but withdrew the case because there was not enough evidence.


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