Troublemaker's one-day jail term slammed

A ONE-day jail term handed to a teenager who terrorised his neighbourhood has been criticised by a community leader as “a waste of time”.The 24-hour sentence was given to Karl Roberts, 19, formerly of Great Cornard, for breaching an Anti-social behaviour order (Asbo).

A ONE-day jail term handed to a teenager who terrorised his neighbourhood has been criticised by a community leader as “a waste of time”.

The 24-hour sentence was given to Karl Roberts, 19, formerly of Great Cornard, for breaching an Anti-social behaviour order (Asbo). He entered an area of village – from which he is banned under the order – to sleep with his girlfriend.

Last night, Humphrey Todd, vice-chairman of Great Cornard Parish Council, criticised the sentence as “derisory” and said it “sent out the wrong message”.

Roberts, who is now living at a caravan site in Combs Lane, Great Finborough, near Stowmarket, was served with the Asbo by magistrates in Bury St Edmunds on March 3, after his behaviour left residents in the Lindsey Court area feeling harassed, alarmed and distressed.


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He had verbally abused residents and housing association staff, caused a nuisance by shouting and arguing with his girlfriend and played loud music.

The three-year Asbo he received prohibited him from entering the Lindsey Court area of Great Cornard, behaving in a manner likely to cause harassment or distress, or putting people in fear for their safety.

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Roberts also became the first teenager in Suffolk to be made the focus of a name-and-shame poster campaign launched by a local authority.

Babergh District Council posted 500 leaflets to addresses in Great Cornard, which featured pictures of Roberts and outlined the rules of the Asbo served on him.

Yesterday, Roberts appeared before Sudbury magistrates where he admitted breaching the Asbo by entering Lindsey Court on March 7, to stay at his partner's house.

Prosecutor Sarah Jane Atkins said: “A deputy housing manager entered the home of Mr Roberts' girlfriend and found him lying on the bed, which was in breach of the order against him.”

David Stewart, mitigating, said: “Although Mr Roberts has a number of convictions, this is his first breach of the Asbo and it is of a very minor nature.

“He wanted to see his girlfriend who is pregnant and the couple also have a 23-month-old child.”

Before sentencing Roberts to one day in custody, chairman of the bench Sarah Hardingham said although the breach was minor, only a custodial sentence could be passed.

But Mr Todd said: “I think the sentence is derisory, unless you are going to follow up and make an Asbo mean something, you are just wasting people's time.

“This sends out the wrong message. The courts should have imposed a stronger sentence, both to protect the public and strengthen its faith in the justice system.”

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