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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 11:12 GMT
Company defends anti-teen device
The Mosquito device
About 5,000 devices have been sold worldwide
A south Wales company making a sonic "teenage deterrent" which has sold 5,000 units worldwide has defended the device after calls to ban it.

Known as the Mosquito, it emits a high-pitched noise which can only be heard by young people.

Children's commissioners for England and Scotland and human rights group Liberty say they infringe the rights of young people.

But that was denied by Compound Security Systems (CSS), of Abercynon.

Simon Morris of CSS said the mosquito operated at 85 decibels and described the noise as being "quieter than modest passing traffic".

He said the company took legal advice before putting the product on the market in October 2006, and there are an estimated 3,500 in use in the UK.

"We've spent an inordinate amount of time, effort and money making sure the device is safe and doesn't breach anybody's rights," Mr Morris said.

The frequency of the device is above the hearing range of most people aged over 25 and is being used by local councils and police forces across the UK.

Liberty says the Mosquito has "no place in a civilised society"

"We have been campaigning since the third month of having the product on the market for somebody to assist us in putting together a code of practice for its used and for it to be licensed and controlled," Mr Smith added.

The mosquito was invented by Howard Stapleton, from Merthyr Tydfil, after his 14-year-old daughter returned empty-handed from a trip to a shop because of the rowdy teenagers outside.

The noise from the box, which costs about 500, was audible after five to 10 minutes to most teenagers but not all, and has a record of driving gangs away from troublespots.

The Children's Commissioner for England, Professor Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, wants a ban on the Mosquito on the grounds that it infringes the rights of young people, and he is supported by his Scottish counterpart.

'Demonising children'

Prof Aynsley-Green's campaign will urge businesses to abandon its use, and will even encourage children to report instances of it being used against them.

He is also understood to be prepared to bring a test case in the courts if necessary.

"These devices are indiscriminate and target all children and young people, including babies, regardless of whether they are behaving or misbehaving," Prof Aynsley-Green said.

"The use of measures such as these are simply demonising children and young people, creating a dangerous and widening divide between the young and the old."

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: "These untested, unregulated devices are at best a dog whistle and at worst a sonic weapon directed against children and young people.

"They have no place in a civilised society."

Rob Gough, one of the first to test out the device at the Spar shop he runs in Barry said he would defy any ban.

Mr Gough, who has been stabbed in work himself, said: "I think it's absolutely absurd that they can compare the abuse my staff have suffered to the effect of the Mosquito - it's just a noise that annoys.

"It's not even loud, and doesn't cause any damage," he added.

Teen trouble beaten by 'mosquito'
31 Mar 06 |  Derbyshire
Noise machine deters shop gangs
08 Nov 05 |  South East Wales

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