RESIDENTS in Spring Hill have slammed a decision NOT to permanently ban a teen tearaway from their neighbourhood.
Aaron Stoddard, 15, had been made the subject of an interim anti-social behaviour order in February after Hyndburn Magistrates heard how he had been abusive and threatening to elderly residents.
The ruling meant Aaron, who at the time was living in Spring Street, Accrington, was under a curfew from 7pm and temporarily banned from entering parts of Spring Hill and the Walmsley Close area of Church.
When residents spotted him back in the area in March, the exclusion zone was extended to include the area around the Globe Centre, a large section of Blackburn Road, Accring-ton, and the railway station area of Oswaldtwistle.
But when the interim ASBO expired on Wednesday, Hyndburn Council and the police withdrew their application for a full order, claiming Aaron had been obeying the interim order and had moved out of the borough to Hasling-den.
He is now free to return to his old neighbourhood, although police have pledged that if he causes trouble again they would not hesitate to take further action.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: "We're very disappointed about this. He has been an absolute terror and now it seems he has got away with it. I wouldn't be surprised if he starts coming back to the area just to show us that he's won. He is a nasty person and we're not at all happy."
Ward councillor Mrs Edith Dunston said: "It is a big disappointment, especially after all the hard work that went into it. I couldn't believe it at first. I am sure the residents will be very apprehensive as they have been through so much. But I have been assured by the police that if he does cause any more problems they will take severe action.
"They are giving him a second chance and, while I'm not sure I totally agree with that, we have got to abide by the decision. Hopefully, he has learned his lesson."
Council solicitor Gordon McMillan said: "Aaron has been observing the terms and conditions of his interim order and in the circumstances we think it is appropriate not to proceed any further with the main application. But we do reserve the right to bring the matter back to court if there is any repetition."
Inspector Phil Cottam, of Accrington Police, said: "Since the application was made for the interim ASBO, which had very stringent conditions, I am happy to say we have no confirmed evidence of this young man breaching it. With the family having moved out of the area, it was felt the interim ASBO had fulfilled its purpose, which was to remove him and ensure residents were not the subject of anti-social behaviour.
"However, we do take the view that should any problems re-occur, the ASBO will once again be applied for. It would appear that the ASBO has gone a long way to improving the quality of life for people in the Spring Hill area."