Asbo teenager escaped jail...again

PROLIFIC teenage offender Mark Stagg is becoming a regular in the last chance saloon after the courts spared him prison despite him flouting his anti-social behaviour order yet again.

PROLIFIC teenage offender Mark Stagg is becoming a regular in the last chance saloon after the courts spared him prison despite him flouting his anti-social behaviour order yet again.

The 18-year-old has managed to avoid a spell behind bars even though he brazenly ignored the Asbo's requirements when he was spotted clutching a can of cider and “staggering around plainly drunk” on Friday .

Stagg would still have had the words of the magistrates ringing in his ears having only been in court on September 8 for a similar breach - leaving with his trademark final chance.

The troublesome teenager, who has 22 previous convictions for 44 offences, first ignored the Asbo in April last year when he flouted it the day after it was made.


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He also breached the Asbo, which ordered him not to enter certain parts of Woodbridge or drink in public, on numerous occasions in July and was given a community order which he failed to fulfil.

Earlier this month, magistrates revoked the order and, rather than sending him to jail, opted to hand him a 12-week suspended sentence and 40 hours unpaid work in the community.

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During his latest court appearance, Stagg, of Kings Close, Woodbridge, was dealt with by District Judge David Cooper who decided against enforcing the suspended sentence because although the defendant was drunk and was holding the can he had not actually been seen drinking.

It was the same Judge Cooper who sent Stagg to a young offenders' institution in April last year telling him: “I don't think I should give you another chance - you've had too many.”

Andrea Reynolds, prosecuting at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, said that when Stagg was seen in New Street under the influence of alcohol, that he fell to the ground and dropped the can but no one actually saw him drink any of the cider.

Mark Holt, mitigating, said his client had drunk alcohol in private before going out and was drunk but held the can of cider for his friend who was tying his shoelaces.

Stagg told the officer that he had spat in the can so his DNA would be traceable if it was checked for forensic evidence.

After the court heard all the evidence, Stagg, who originally denied the offence, changed his plea to guilty - admitting drinking in a public place when he was prevented from doing so by an Asbo.

A probation officer then told the court Stagg's offending was “prolific” and that he had failed to keep a single probation appointment.

Stagg was ordered to carry out another ten hours of community service and fined £100.

SUFFOLK police today said it was “disappointed” at the latest punishment handed out to Stagg.

Det Chf Insp Phil Aves said: “As eastern area crime manager I am very disappointed that he has been given yet another final chance.

“He has consistently refused to take the help offered and continually breaches his Asbo.

“It is this type of anti-social behaviour that continues to blight our communities.”

Although Suffolk Coastal District Council were unavailable for comment today, a spokesman speaking after Stagg's last chance earlier this month said: “Clearly the magistrates make their decisions on the basis of the evidence and the case put before them, but in this instance there is some disappointment at the council that they have chosen to issue a suspended sentence.

“However, clearly we would share the hope that Mr Stagg will take notice of this significant final warning and he will follow the court's instructions and obey the outstanding instructions of his Asbo.”

N Do you think Asbos work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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