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Teeny terror named and shamed

A YOUNG tearaway who terrorised residents in Spring Hill and Church has been made the subject of a temporary anti-social behaviour order.

SGT Claire Holbrook: "Residents are genuinely scared of him"
SGT Claire Holbrook: "Residents are genuinely scared of him"

A YOUNG tearaway who terrorised residents in Spring Hill and Church has been made the subject of a temporary anti-social behaviour order.

Hyndburn magistrates agreed that Aaron Stoddard, 15, of Spring Street, Accrington, should be "named and shamed'' by having his identity revealed and photograph published. They granted the borough's first interim ASBO, which has 11 conditions and will remain in place until a full hearing on 9 April.

The Bench was told that the tiny terror, who stands just 4 ft 11ins tall, had been abusive and threatening to elderly residents in the two areas for over two years. The ruling means that he will be banned from entering parts of Spring Hill and the Walmsley Close area of Church.

Aaron, who is due to move to Haslingden with his family, will also be under a curfew between 7pm and 7am, and is forbidden from entering any premises in the borough without the owner's permission.

During the hearing, the court heard that Aaron already had convictions for burglary and possessing cannabis resin. He is the subject of an eight-month referral order supervised by the Youth Offending Team.

Sergeant Claire Holbrook, of Accrington Police, said the teenager was regularly out until after midnight and slept during the day, and several agencies had been working with him to tackle his behaviour.

She added that over the past two years he had:

  • Ridden a motorised scooter at elderly residents and threatened to run them over.
  • Thrown snowballs at pensioners during the recent cold weather.
  • Torn down residents' fences and broken into garages to get wood for a bonfire on Bonfire Night.
  • Shouted foul and abusive language to anyone who tried to curb his behaviour.

Sergeant Holbrook added: "The type of behaviour Aaron commits is mainly abusive to residents, and they are genuinely scared of him.

"For a long period of time he had a Go-Ped - a motorised scooter - and a lot of residents were complaining that he was trying to knock them over. Only this week I had two complaints from extr-emely distressed elderly people in the area. He was encouraging his friends to throw snowballs at the elderly. One hit an elderly lady directly in the face, and she had only just had a heart attack.

"Anybody who asks him to curb his behaviour is met with foul language. He tells them that he isn't bothered - that he was going to move and the order wouldn't have any effect on him. Everybody in the street is asking for something to be done about him. I have no fears whatsoever that this is premature. This is something that we should have done a long time ago."

Mr Peter King, defending, asked that Aaron should not be publicly identified in the press. He said: "There are circumstances which I will not go into that perhaps cause this young man to be troubled and damaged. Aaron and his father, through me, wish to express their strong views that the court should take great care in the lifting of reporting restrictions that normally apply in proceedings involving youths before the courts."

Mr King added that the family would shortly be moving to Haslingden, and Aaron's father received the keys to the property last week.

He said: "If the removal has taken place and the child is no longer resident in the borough, then it may be the case that the application for the full order is not proceeded with."

Magistrate Mr Les Timmis said: "Having considered all the arguments in regard to the reporting of the matter, we agree with the police point of view that there is a benefit in having the person named. We also agree to the anti-social behaviour order being made on an interim basis until the full hearing."

He told Aaron that any breach of the order would put him in further trouble.

Speaking after the hearing, Sergeant Holbrook said: "I would like to wholeheartedly thank the community of Spring Hill in particular for their tenacity and strength in repeatedly bringing these problems to my attention. The introduction of interim ASBOs prior to Christmas has been very timely. Stoddard has victimised and distressed many elderly residents who will now feel the benefit of this order.

"A breach of any ASBO is deemed to be extremely serious in the eyes of the law and I would urge anybody who witnesses a breach to immediately contact the police to report it."


Stuart Pike
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