DCSIMG

Revealed: City districts that come first as Asbo hotspots

THEY are used to tackle everything from noisy neighbours to prostitutes and have even become a "badge of honour" for young delinquents.

But while high-profile cases hit the headlines, scores of antisocial behaviour orders have been imposed across Edinburgh out of the public eye.

An analysis by the Evening News has today produced an "Asbo map" of the city, pinpointing the areas where the most residents have been hit with the most number of orders.

A total of 119 Asbos have been issued in the last five years, with the number split almost evenly between men and women.

Sighthill/Gorgie claimed the unwanted prize as the council ward with the highest number, with 20 residents taken to court.

Second in the league table was Liberton/Gilmerton with 19 Asbos, while Forth and Craigentinny/Duddingston both posted 15.

It also emerged today that three men and one woman have each been given four Asbos for a variety of offences over the years.

City leaders said Asbos had been "very useful" over the years in trying to curb the "blight" of antisocial behaviour.

Out of the 17 council wards in the Capital, only Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart and Almond have so far failed to register any Asbos.

Councillor Eric Milligan, who covers Sighthill/Gorgie, said he was "not surprised" that the area topped the list for Asbos.

He added: "I think it's indicative of the attention that police have given to the area when there have been problems, particularly in Sighthill and Broomhouse.

"Clearly there has been an effort to deal with antisocial behaviour and I think this has made some difference over recent years.

"Asbos are not a perfect solution, but I think they are a measure of the good work that has been put in by police and others."

Playing loud music was the most popular reason for Asbos to be granted after being cited in 44 of the orders, while verbal abuse of neighbours was a factor behind 17.

Among the other reasons cited were "general criminal activity", racial abuse, shouting and swearing, making threats, slamming doors, fire-raising, graffiti, shoplifting and theft.

Sarah Marsden and Karen Weaver were given Asbos for being abusive to residents while working as prostitutes around Leith Links, while a woman from Sighthill/Gorgie received an order for "chanting".

The Asbo analysis also includes East Lothian and Midlothian, whose local authorities have successfully applied for 48 and 28 Asbos respectively since 2004. East Lothian Council also revealed it currently had 165 live investigations against residents who could be given orders in the future. The city council refused to disclose how many active investigations it had on its books.

The most infamous city resident to be hit with an Asbo was convicted killer Jamie Bain, who was given an order in the Liberton/Gilmerton area over noise complaints at his home just months before he carried out The Marmion pub shootings in 2006.

Councillor Ian Murray, who covers the Liberton/Gilmerton ward, said he was pleased the area was second in the Asbo table.

He added: "I'm not surprised by this, as we've been very active in trying to use these orders against those who terrorise the local community. I've always been trying to encourage the council and police to use them even more.

"I know some people don't like the use of Asbos, but they are very effective in showing people they have to change their behaviour or face prison. The Inch was one area where Asbos have been used against two or three of the worst neighbours there for a generation."

Today's figures show that a total of 25 Asbos are currently in operation in Edinburgh, the others having being revoked, or the offender having moved away.

But the number of Asbos granted in recent years has fallen, dropping from a high of 30 in 2005/6 to just nine for 2009/10.

Police and council chiefs say the drop is down to increasing efforts to tackle disorder at an early stage before going to court to apply for orders before a sheriff.

Councillor Paul Edie, city leader for community safety, said:

"The number of complaints (of antisocial behaviour] are reducing year on year, which tells us our methods of dealing with antisocial behaviour are working. We have used Asbos for a number of years and they have been very useful but they are just one tool at our disposal to deal with this issue."

In Midlothian, nine Asbos had been secured in the village of Gorebridge, five in Dalkeith, three each in Penicuik, Bonnyrigg and Loanhead, two each in Mayfield and Newtongrange, and one in Lasswade.

A total of 15 of the orders are currently active.

ROLL CALL OF SHAME

John "The Kaiser" McKay, 52, became one of the first people in Scotland to be issued with a lifetime Asbo in 2006. He faces automatic arrest and prison if he enters Princes Street, Rose Street or Castle Street.

&#149 Mandy Horsburgh, 26, was hit with an Asbo in May 2007 that banned her from the Westside Plaza Shopping Centre in Wester Hailes for three years. The serial shoplifter terrorised staff and customers at the centre.

&#149 Omar Makdad, 57, was hit with an Asbo in June 2008 after wiring together a vacuum cleaner, TV, radio and stereo to produce the sound of a "jet landing" to annoy his neighbour.

&#149 Ann Marie Harvey, 25, was banned from the city centre for carrying out hundreds of thefts from shoppers and tourists.

She was served with an Asbo in May 2007 banning her from around 40 streets after police identified her as one of the worst repeat offenders in the city.

&#149 Diane Cameron, 41, and her son Jason, then 16, were given Asbos in September 2008 after a court heard they had terrorised neighbours in Musselburgh, and were responsible for an "appalling catalogue of behaviour".

 
 
 

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