Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Teenager handed Strabane's first Asbo

A teenager from Sion Mills has become the first person to be handed an Anti Social Behaviour Order at Strabane Magistrates Court.

The Asbo was ordered after the teenager was found to have breached the terms of an earlier conviction.

At an earlier hearing the Co Tyrone youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been given a conditional discharge after being found guilty of common assault.

He was given a one-month sentence which was suspended for two years.

But after being found to have breached the terms of the original sentence he now has the ignominious record of being the first person to be given an Asbo in the Strabane district.

Under the terms of his Asbo the teenager has been ordered to not make contact with certain named individuals directly or indirectly.

He is not to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a public place and he is under a curfew from 10pm to 7am unless accompanied by his parents or aunt and uncle.

The youth is also forbidden from entering certain areas unless accompanied by a family member or in a moving vehicle, or going to and from a bus stop within the area.

Asbos are a supplement to the statutory responses already available to the authorities to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The purpose of an Asbo is to protect the public from the behaviour of those individuals whose anti-social activities disrupt the lives of the wider community.

In Northern Ireland the police, the Housing Executive and district councils can apply to a Magistrates Court for an Asbo.

While the Asbo is a first for Strabane, a number have been slapped on teenagers in other parts of the North West, including Londonderry. The threat has also been used to deter anti-social behaviour by youths.

At one stage in the city, police threatened to issue a number against young people gathering in hordes at a sports centre and abusing the staff.

In 2006, parents of up to 100 alcohol-abusing 12 to 15-year-olds were warned the gang may be served with Asbos unless their behaviour changed.

By that time, two Asbos and one interim Asbo had already been granted by the courts against three young people who were engaged in anti-social behaviour in the city.

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