A GANG of yobs with more than 30 criminal convictions between them were hit with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) for terrorising a rural community by magistrates yesterday.
Shaun Bebbington, 19, of Beech Close, Cuddington; Scott Carter, 21, of Blake Lane, Sandiway; James Davies, 20, of Green Bank Lane, Northwich; David Horton, 19, of Acorn Close, Cuddington; and 22-year-old Craig Lamb, of Ash Road, Cuddington, appeared before Vale Royal Magistrates Court yesterday.
Sion Mihangel, prosecuting, and Kate Meredith-Jones, defending, agreed ASBOs should be imposed after a string of complaints were made against the group and, as the Chronicle went to press last night, magistrates were finalising the terms of the order.
Mr Mihangel told magistrates harassment of residents, verbal abuse and criminal damage and vandalism in Sandiway and Cuddington featured prominently in the summary of evidence against the group. Magistrates also saw photographic evidence of Davies urinating in the middle of the road in broad daylight.
The majority of complaints made against the five involved incidents near to the shops on Fir Lane and the library on Mere Road.
Mr Mihangel said: 'Their actions have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of the residents. Some are so concerned about their safety and well-being they have refused to be identified for fear of reprisals.'
Giving evidence, PC Paul Walsh said: 'They are ruining the lives of the people who have to put up with their behaviour.'
One of the defendants, Lamb, who has 16 previous convictions alone, is currently two months into a 12-month prison sentence for racially aggravated criminal damage. Altogether, the troublemakers have 69 offences and one police caution to their names.
Mr Mihangel concluded: 'These residents feel intimidated in their own community. Some have considered moving and, in fact, one has moved as a result of their behaviour.
'What was once a quiet and proud community has been seriously altered. It is reasonable and necessary to protect individuals from further acts of this nature.'
Ms Meredith-Jones concurred. Bench chairwoman Moira Chapman said: 'We have considered everything in detail and we feel there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that ASBOs should be made. These are serious orders designed to improve the lives of residents.'
Horton was handed a two-year ASBO while the other four each received three-year ASBOs. Each is prevented from entering a certain area of the two villages.