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Last Updated: Friday, 24 March 2006, 06:57 GMT
Anti-gang noise box switched off
The Mosquito device
The device sends out a high pitched irritating noise
A noise nuisance device being used by shopkeepers to deter gangs of youths has been banned at a Newport shop - in case it breaches human rights.

The Spar shop in Caerleon Road has been told by Newport Community Safety Partnership (NCSP) not to use it.

The device, called a Mosquito, works by emitting a high pitched irritating noise audible only to young people.

The NCSP says it is "indiscriminate" and can be heard by all youngsters, not just anti-social gangs of youths.

A spokesman for the NCSP said: "We have a responsibility to the human rights and health and safety of the whole community to consider before approving the device or investing in more of them.

"Our issue with the device is that it is indiscriminate. It may well target yobs and move them on but other children use the shop as well.

These louts can infringe on our rights to run a shop yet we can't dare infringe on their right to loiter
Spar spokesman

"There have been discussions locally and nationally on the legality of a device which does not distinguish between those causing nuisance or anti-social behaviour and those who do not.

"Until the issues which surround its indiscriminate nature and also environmental impact are resolved, we have asked that the device is not used."

The NCSP said it had to be silenced until human rights and health and safety issues were "fully resolved".

But the managers of the Spar shop criticised the decision saying the 495 device made by a Merthyr Tydfil company has helped stop gangs of anti-social youths hanging outside the shop.

They say in the first three months of its installation, there was an 84% reduction in the number of police call outs to the shop.

"It's absolutely disgusting. These louts can infringe on our rights to run a profitable shop for the community yet we can't dare infringe on their right to loiter and make life a misery for our shoppers," said a spokesman from the Spar shop.

Gangs of youths outside the Spar shop
The noise from the device annoys young people

"It makes me so very sad. The device was working very well and now it's been turned off - and we won't be surprised if the troublemakers return."

The Merthyr based manufacturer Compound Security Ltd insisted the device does not breach the human rights of young people who can hear it.

Marketing Director Simon Morris said: "The noise has been tested extensively on dogs and cats who are totally unaffected by it.

"The device has a small range and it takes at least 10 minutes for the annoying nature of the noise to take effect.

"People have a right to assemble with others in a peaceful way - without violence or threat of violence.

"We do not consider that this right includes the right of teenagers to congregate for no specific purpose."

He said police forces and councils across the UK were investing in such devices.

Noise machine deters shop gangs
08 Nov 05 |  South East Wales

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