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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 10:20 GMT
Asbowatch 2005: Look back at anger
The escalation of the war against yobs in 2005 was perhaps most evident in the use of anti-social behaviour orders.

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The first three months of the year saw an 85% rise in the number of Asbos issued, with more than 5,500 people now facing a fine or prison if they break their terms.

Asbos were not the only weapons employed against bad eggs. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott praised Bluewater shopping centre's decision to ban "intimidating" baseball caps and hooded tops. Tony Blair said the issue of "respect" would be a priority.

It all suggests that anti-social behaviour - and the desire to tackle it - takes many forms, as a quick look at some of the more inventive orders of 2005 shows.

THE KNICKER NICKER

It was when the hot water failed that the trouble started for prolific Scilly Isles knicker-thief Andrew Stephan.

Hunting for leaky pipes, his ex-wife's new partner stumbled upon the sizable stash of pilfered women's underwear, sex toys and photographs that the builder left behind when he moved out of the family home.

Police on the remote islands had to ask female residents to come forward to identify their "particularly personal items". It did not go down well.

Stephan was handed 150 hours of community service and an Asbo banning him from the islands until 2012. The ban was later reduced to two years.

PANTS PUNISHMENTS

Continuing the underwear theme, a passion for wearing (rather than stealing) skimpy pants was linked to Asbos handed out at either end of the country.

In East Kilbride a 27-year-old lacking the decorum expected of her by neighbours was banned from answering the front door in her underwear.

Man sunbathing
The rules of sunbathing are not understood by everyone

The woman, who argued that she had merely done the gardening in an Ann Summers bikini one hot day, also faced the threat of jail if seen in the yard or at her windows in just knickers and a bra.

And down on the Sussex coast summer just won't be as much fun for one ageing Eastbourne resident - who was ordered to cover up properly when sunbathing.

It was the complaints about his penchant for wearing nothing but a see-through, heart-shaped ladies' thong while enjoying the beach in fine weather that did it.

"This was a grotesque spectacle of an ageing exhibitionist. It's not clever," the judge warned him.

BEHIND THE MASK

A man with a fetish for surgical masks was jailed for three years and handed an Asbo to stop him hounding medical staff.

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 events.

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

On his release from jail, Hutchins will have to abide by an Asbo banning him from all NHS premises, primary care trusts and private medical establishments in England and Wales.

FOR THE LOVE OF DOG

It was in 2005, as awareness of anti-social behaviour orders grew, that the word "Asbo" truly entered the English language - and the Collins English Dictionary.

Staffordshire bull terrier
What's in a name?

But its arrival as a well-known term was not just marked by those responsible for filling the nation's bookshelves.

The cry "Asbo! Here, Asbo!" saw a Staffordshire bull terrier obediently scamper to its master's side in one Hull park, poet Ian Killen told the Guardian.

Working on a project to record unusual dogs' names, which also uncovered the moniker Twoc (short for Taken Without Owner's Consent), the writer mused: "The dog's names are a vivid portrayal of the world their owners live in."

'I'M ROUND THE BACK'

The walk home got a little bit longer for one angry young man, who was banned from being anywhere in his street for four years.

While the 17-year-old is still allowed to live at his house in 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 the youth, who did not contest the order, needed to be kept away from fellow residents, so they could "live their lives freely".

A WAY WITH WORDS

It was when the 15-year-old miscreant was hauled into court that the problem was first noticed.

Thirsty work: The trials of being threatening

Angered by his unruly, boozed-up behaviour, police had hoped magistrates would punish the youth for breaching his Asbo. He hadn't.

Closer examination revealed that he had mistakenly been ordered not to be in public "without" alcohol and that he was also duty bound to act in a threatening manner likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress to others.

After the boy escaped punishment as a result of the misprint, the officials behind the mistake were asked to deliver a new Asbo with more appropriate wording, the Daily Mirror reported.

COME ON, FEEL THE NOISE

A highly regarded pirate DJ was brought down to earth - quite literally - by an Asbo aimed at curbing his rooftop broadcasts.

Having admitted operating a pirate radio station and causing 10,000 worth of damage by erecting a radio transmitter, the garage music supremo was handed a three-year conditional discharge.

Cartoon of speakers in a window

More significantly for his career, Tower Hamlets council persuaded magistrates to ban him from entering any building in the borough more than four storeys tall for five years.

A passion for music also landed one hard of hearing Ozzy Osbourne fan in trouble after played his favourite heavy metal tunes just a bit louder than the neighbours liked.

The floorboards were shaking, residents of his estate said. And it was only 9am.

But the excessive volume was not entirely the ageing rocker's fault, his lawyer argued. For one thing, his hearing aid had been broken during an assault and he did not have the 190 needed to replace it.

Not only that, but: "The windows were open, the washing machine was on and there was someone from the council cutting the grass outside."

Unmoved by the struggle to get his Black Sabbath fix, the court ruled it was a breach of an Asbo for previous noise pollution and a three month jail sentence was his.


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