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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 10:59 GMT
Asbowatch V: War on a G-string
By Duncan Walker
BBC News

THE ASBOWATCH CHRONICLES
Novel Asbos

Rattled by the UK's apparent love affair with the anti-social behaviour order, concerned parties are to set up a campaign group next month.

Asbo Concern plans to highlight what it calls the "irresponsible" use of the civil orders which, they claim, wrongly criminalise people.

But it could be a tough corner to fight. Asbos remain at the heart of government policy and - as this latest selection of unusual applications of the initiative highlights - their flexibility continues to turn-up interesting new uses.

PANTS PUNISHMENT

Lacking the decorum expected of her by neighbours, one young Scot has been banned from answering the front door in her underwear.

Are you being served
A lady's underwear should be private

The 27-year-old also faces the threat of jail if she is seen in her garden or windows in just knickers and a bra.

The mother-of-two suggested fellow residents of East Kilbride got hot under the collar after she wore an Ann Summers bikini to do the gardening one steamy summer's day.

"Okay, so it gave me a bit of cleavage, but I don't think I was doing anything wrong," the Daily Record reported her as saying.

She has been granted legal aid to fight the interim order which, she says, was the result of a "witch-hunt" that began when her neighbours were given Asbo diaries to record what she was up to.

PETROL HEAD

A man addicted to sniffing fuel is now in jail after breaking an Asbo which banned him from petrol station forecourts across Teesside.

Brian Taylor
Brian Taylor is receiving help for his problem

Brian Taylor, 36, terrorised staff and customers after cutting pipes, sniffing petrol and dancing unnervingly. His habit of slashing hoses didn't particularly help his case after customers ended up soaked in fuel.

Taylor was jailed for three months after being caught out on CCTV.

Sgt Brian Tams of Cleveland Police said: "Now that he has been imprisoned in breach of his Asbo there may be a chance he can rehabilitate himself with the help of the prison services."

RIVER PATROL

After being rescued from the River Avon three times last year in failed suicide attempts, a 23-year-old woman has been banned from jumping into rivers or canals.

The Asbo also says she must not jump on to train lines, as she was also found hanging from a railway parapet and police had to stop trains to rescue her.

The terms of the order say she must not do anything which could cause alarm or distress to the public.

Marjorie Wallace of mental health charity Sane was unimpressed. "'An Asbo could make a person even more determined to go through with a suicide attempt," she said.

WAR OF WORDS

Sometimes it's the way you put things that matters, a point that has now been impressed upon one Manchester man.

Years of abuse saw the 50-year-old label neighbours "druggies", "council scum", "trash", "fairy" and "Army boy".

Magistrates were told he bombarded police with false accusations of drug dealing among those living nearby.

He has been banned from claiming anyone is "involved in suspicious activity and drug dealing".

STORMY WEATHER

A Manchester father-of-five has escaped an Asbo banning him from his home, following noisy rows with his new wife. But he has been banned from getting involved in any more drunken rows with her.

In his defence, the 38-year-old told magistrates: "Yes we have had arguments in the house, what couple hasn't?... We have sorted our differences out and as far as I'm concerned that's the end of the matter." His solicitor told the court that it would be a "dangerous precedent" to impose an Asbo on a man for rowing with his wife - otherwise anyone in an argument which disturbs somebody else would be in danger.

There will be a full hearing in July, but in the meantime he mustn't use bad language or behave threateningly.

CREATING WAVES

Jetski
Jetskiers could be next, if they don't behave
Over-enthusiastic use of jet-skis could be next on the Asbo agenda. North Tyneside Council is asking jetskiers to sign up to a code of conduct - speed limits near the shore, avoiding paddlers and people working on boats, that sort of thing.

If they don't, council bosses plan to use an Asbo on them. One lifeboat worker said that polite requests to be careful were not always respected. "If you try to say something, they tell you where to go," he told the Journal newspaper.

NO PARKING

A 55-year-old Portsmouth man has been given an Asbo against parking his car in a disabled parking space. It wasn't his space, and when its 86-year-old intended user asked him to move his vehicle, he reportedly called her "village pond life".

He is reportedly the UK's first person to be specifically banned from parking in a disabled space.

BLACK SHEEP OF THE FAMILY

Wrongly accused of eating the flowers from graves in Stroud, Gloucestershire, Colin the pet black sheep was banned from the cemetery and threatened with an Asbo.

"I warned [the owner] that if the sheep was guilty then it could face possible action under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act," one local official recalled.

Fortunately things never went that far, after a pair of wild deer were spotted munching the flowers.

Not all stories have a happy ending though. Less than three months after his ordeal Colin has passed away.




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