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Anti-social behaviour in public and a nuisance neighbour – council takes three people to court

10:23 am, Wednesday, 21st July 2021 - 3 years ago

General

Two men have been taken to court and fined for breaching a public space protection order in Grimsby town centre.

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covers the whole of Grimsby Town Centre. This makes it an offence to:

  • Behave in such a manner causing or likely to cause nuisance, alarm, harassment or distress.
  • Be involved in any activity or behaviour that threatens the safety of that person or another.
  • Use foul or abusive language directed at another person.

Many public complaints of anti-social behaviour have been received by Humberside Police and North East Lincolnshire Council for the Riverhead in the town centre, mainly relating to behaviour at the bus stops.  

On 30 January 2020, two PCSOs were on mobile patrol duty in Grimsby town centre when they saw Lee Jennings, 39, of Tivoli Gardens, at a bus stop with a group of people who were swearing and being loud.

The PCSOs approached the group where Jennings behaved in a threatening manner.

The officers explained that anti-social behaviour was occurring in the area and they should leave and if they did not, a fixed penalty notice would be issued.

Jennings became verbally abusive while raising his middle finger at the officers.

While the group, and Jennings, left the area for a short time, they returned to the bus stop five minutes later. After another warning, the rest of the group left, but Jennings remained.

The PCSO told Jennings he would be completing a PCSO incident report and that he would be issued with a £100 fine. Jennings became aggressive, swearing at the officer, who felt threatened and requested back-up.

Jennings pleaded guilty on 7 May 2021 at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court to the offence of a breach of a Public Space Protection Order. The court ordered a fine of £66 and a victim surcharge of £34. Jennings had initially been given the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty notice in the sum of £100 but no payment was received and so court action was taken.

On 4 January 2020, James Baker, 27, of Eleanor Street, Grimsby, also breached a PSPO in the Riverhead.

A woman witnessed very loud and offensive music being played while out with her young children.

Police attended the scene and observed the defendant pushing a tower-like speaker on wheels which was playing loud music that included offensive lyrics. The officer approached Baker and issued him with a verbal warning to stop the nuisance caused by the loud and offensive music.

Baker continued to play the music further down in Victoria Street, about 100 metres away from the initial location.

Following the incident, a member of the council’s anti-social behaviour team completed a PSPO fixed penalty notice which was issued on 16 January 2020. No payment was made by Baker.

The case was proven in his absence on 14 May 2021 at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court. He was fined £440 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £44 and costs of £150. He was ordered to make full payment within 28 days.

In another incident, a nuisance neighbour, who has caused alarm and distress to local residents by shouting and swearing, has pleaded guilty.

In a witness statement, one of the neighbours said: “I can say that the actions, words and behaviour directed at my family has caused us harassment, alarm and great distress. We moved to this address in a lovely area of town to have a peaceful family life. The actions and words from [the defendant] is shattering our dream and has left my son who is four years of age frightened in his own bedroom. He has been wetting the bed recently which is all down to the bad man next door.”

Another neighbour said: “I find it very worrying and stressful to the point where I don’t want to be in my own home.”

The man, who is not being named, had been reported by two neighbours in October 2020. A council anti-social behaviour co-ordinator attended his address to warn him about his behaviour, and that if it continued, he would be served a Community Protection Notice which could result in a fine and possible court action. The defendant said he was in his own flat and he could say and do what he wants.

In November 2020, further complaints of shouting and swearing were made. The same anti-social behaviour co-ordinator attended alongside a police constable who later arrested the defendant for shouting, swearing and threatening to burn down his flat.

Further complaints were made which resulted in a Community Protection Notice being served on 8 January 2021.

The notice served stated:

  • You must not shout loudly or swear loudly within your flat at such a level as would be audible to anyone outside your own flat.
  • You must not, at any time, act in such a manner as would be likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any other resident or neighbours where you reside. This would include at any time and any place away from your residence.

Further complaints from two neighbours were made once again, which resulted in a letter and fixed penalty notice being served for the offence of breaching the requirements of the Community Protection Notice. This was served on 26 January and gave the individual 14 days to make payment to avoid court action.

He failed to pay the fixed penalty within 14 days. The defendant attended Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on 14 May 2021 and pleaded guilty to breaching the requirements of the Community Protection Notice. He was fined £120 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £34 and costs of £200.

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