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Last Updated: Monday, 8 December, 2003, 19:17 GMT
Unruly youth is 'banished'
Edmund Eccles
Eccles and his gang committed a spate of offences
A youth who subjected the residents of a town to a campaign of terror has been "banished" from most of central Scotland for nine months.

Edmund Eccles was 15 years old when he led a group of friends on a spree of violence, housebreaking and intimidation in Alva, Clackmannanshire.

Eccles pleaded guilty to 17 charges including assault, theft and misuse of drugs.

Appearing at Alloa Sheriff Court, his sentence was deferred on condition that he stays away from Tayside, Central and Fife.

Deferring sentence, Sheriff William Reid told him: "That's as far as my powers extend."

Depute fiscal Mike McMahon said that Eccles, now 16, had been the ringleader of the gang which embarked on a four-month campaign in January.

'We rule Alva'

Mr McMahon said that whenever police were called to deal with him they were met with volleys of spit and tirades of foul-mouthed abuse.

Local businessman Piers Brown said that Eccles and his gang made life miserable for the residents of Alva.

Mr Brown said: "It had a big impact on the business and not just on my life but for hundreds of other people in Alva.

"It blighted our lives. Not just him, it was his gang that literally terrorised Alva.

"They were going down the streets saying 'We rule Alva' and at the time they did."

First Minister Jack McConnell visited the town before May's parliamentary elections in an effort to defuse the situation.

Eccles' solicitor Peter Keene said that since being forced to live away from Alva, the youth had started a "useful life" in Aberdeen.



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