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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Public drinking ban for couple
Lisa and Robert Hughes
Lisa and Robert Hughes are banned from drinking in public
A couple from the south Wales valleys have been banned for life from drinking alcohol in any public place in the UK.

Robert and Lisa Hughes from Tylorstown in the Rhondda Valleys could face jail if they are seen drinking in public.

The couple, aged 37 and 38, are believed to be the first in Britain to be placed under such an Anti-social Behaviour Order (Asbo).

They have also been banned from playing loud music.

The Asbo was brought against the couple by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council after a number of complaints were made about the Hughes' behaviour.

At Pontypridd Magistrates Court, the couple admitted public order offences following an incident at a house in nearby Maerdy.

Indefinite

The court heard how police had gone to the property after reports of a disturbance involving the couple and officers were forced to use CS gas.

Lisa Hughes admitted assaulting a police officer and using threatening behaviour.

As well as the drinking in public ban, she was put under a daily curfew preventing her from leaving her house between 2030BST and 0730BST.

Her husband admitted using threatening behaviour at the incident last August.

Both were given indefinite bans stopping them from drinking in a public place anywhere in the UK and have been ordered not to play loud music to the annoyance of the public.

They are also not allowed to enter Highfield and Tegfan Road in Maerdy.

Chief Inspector Dave Dando from South Wales Police said: "It sends out a message that unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated."

No-one from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council was available for comment on Wednesday.

Asbos

A Home Office spokesman said Asbos had previously been used on groups but no figures exist to gauge whether couples have been jointly banned before.

Asbos are designed to prevent behaviour including theft, intimidation, drunkenness and violence by individuals and families who make life difficult for their communities.

The orders often include restrictions on entering a geographical area or shop but can include bans on specific acts, such as swearing in public.

The orders are civil, not criminal, sanctions - although breaches are punishable by up to five years in prison - and are handled by police and local authorities working in partnership.


SEE ALSO:
'First' Asbo issued for violence
07 Apr 04  |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Gang 'leader' banned from shops
25 Mar 04  |  North West Wales
Anti-social orders 'are ignored'
17 Mar 04  |  Scotland


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