Neighbour from hell given Asbo

A NUISANCE neighbour whose home was transformed into an underage drinking den for teenage tearaways caused fear and unrest in a quiet suburb, a court heard.

A NUISANCE neighbour whose home was transformed into an underage drinking den for teenage tearaways caused fear and unrest in a quiet suburb, a court heard.

Unemployed single mother Janice Leverett, 35, of Vinery Road, Bury St Edmunds, allowed gangs of children free rein in her house, causing such terror among neighbours that one would leave her home every weekend in order to get some peace, and others were afraid to leave their homes after dark.

Magistrates at Mildenhall yesterday placed an Anti Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) on Leverett for an indefinite period in a bid to restore order in Vinery Road and the surrounding streets.

The order forbids Leverett from allowing young people other than three of her children to visit her house, and bars anyone else from sleeping there.

It also bans any noise from television or stereos which can be heard outside, and prevents her from being drunk in public in the entire county of Suffolk.

Ian Seeley, representing Suffolk police, said gangs of youths, who were friends of the defendant's children, had gathered at the house, playing loud music, shout and swearing, vomiting in the street, abusing passers-by and intimidating other residents.

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He said: "Some of the problems, in fact more than half the problems, were caused not by the acts of Janice Leverett, but by the fact that she encouraged, incited or generally turned a blind eye to what was happening in her house."

Mr Seeley said residents who had lived in and around Vinery Road for decades complained their quality of life had plummeted by the antics of gangs congregating at Leverett's house.

A group of residents who had given evidence to police in the bid to halt the disruption appeared at court yesterday but were spared the ordeal of giving evidence when Leverett failed to turn up.

Dave Stewart, for Leverett, did not contest the Asbo application and magistrates paid tribute to the courage of residents in the face of intimidating behaviour and thanked them for their part in bringing the case.

Speaking after the case, one resident who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisal, hailed the result as a victory for the people of Bury St Edmunds.

He added: "The result today has been a vindication of everything the residents of the area have suffered and worked for several months and I would like to thank the police for their efforts and patience required in achieving this result.

"I feel it is a very, very good result for us personally, but also for the area, for the town and for people everywhere who are suffering these sorts of problems."

He described how he and his wife had been living in fear, not knowing what would happen every time they got home from work each night, but now were looking forward to getting their lives back to normal

Acting Sergeant Lawrence Allen, supervisor of the West Suffolk Asbo unit, said: "The protection of the community is the biggest issue for us – the people who suffered are the people who need to be protected."

"We view this as a very successful outcome and it sends out a message that Suffolk Constabulary and the community will not tolerate behaviour of this sort."

Magistrates warned that should Leverett fail to comply with the rules of the order, she could face a prison sentence. She was already subject to an interim order imposed earlier this year.

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