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Shop ban for teenaged tearaway

PUBLISHED: 18:30 21 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 March 2010

TEENAGE tearaway Luke Singleton finds himself banned from shops near his home today after carrying out a reign of terror against staff and shoppers.

Some workers were so intimidated by him they were even afraid to turn up to work.

TEENAGE tearaway Luke Singleton finds himself banned from shops near his home today after carrying out a reign of terror against staff and shoppers.

Some workers were so intimidated by him they were even afraid to turn up to work.

The 14-year-old, who once threatened someone with a gun, has now been made the subject of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) imposed by magistrates after an application by Ipswich Borough Council in a bid to restrict his movements.

At South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, The Evening Star successfully challenged reporting restrictions prohibiting the paper revealing anything that would identify the youngster.

The young troublemaker, who was 13 at the time of the incidents, harassed and threatened staff and customers in the Whitton Estate area of Ipswich leaving many too afraid to use local shops.

On imposing the Asbo, chairwoman Ann Walker said: "We realise we are restricting Luke's freedom but we feel this is necessary to protect the rest of society."

The court heard how the teenager, together with a gang of friends, caused havoc in the area.

Inspector Timothy Powell, said: "There are on-going problems with youths in the area and Luke has caused considerable problems leading to many complaints from shop staff at the Meredith Road and Garrick Way Co-ops. It was the police who approached the council about an anti-social behaviour order."

The court also heard from other witnesses who had been working in the shops when Luke was causing trouble.

One witness told the court how Singleton, of Chesterfield Drive, Ipswich, had threatened her with a gun containing shot ball bearings.

Andrew Shaw, who was making the application on behalf of the council said: "At about 8pm you said Singleton threatened you with the gun and he said, "I will shoot your head off."

The witness replied: " Yes and I became more upset as the day went on. He held his T-shirt up to show the gun and then held the gun in his hand and pointed it at me."

The court was shown video evidence of the incident.

Mark Cannatella, representing Singleton, suggested to the witness that there was nothing on the video to show his client actually produced the gun.

Witness Linda Giles, who works in the Co-op store on Meredith Road, told the court how Singleton had later made a gun shape with his hand and pointed it at her.

"He looked at me and put his right hand up and pointed his finger at me like a gun," she said.

Witness Julie Scott, night manager at the Co-op store on Meredith Road was asked by Mr Shaw what the general effect of Singleton's behaviour had on her and her staff.

"He is abusive, threatening and intimidating. I find it intimidating, so do my staff and some customers. It gets to the stage where I do not want to go to work," she said.

The court also heard evidence that Singleton had stolen from the shops in question, skated down isles causing customers, some of whom were elderly, to move out of the way, and systematically harassed and threatened shop workers.

Singleton has now been banned from all Ipswich and Norwich Co-op stores in the Whitton area. He has also been banned from Alldays store on Macaulay Road and Balfour News on Garrick Way and Norwich Road.

Bill Knowles, assistant chief executive of Ipswich and Norwich Co-op, was delighted that the order had been made.

"My staff had had to put up with this trouble for the best part of two years. They can put up with most things but Singleton was something different. He and his gang were out to cause persistent and deliberate nastiness. The staff deserve a word of praise, they dealt with the situation correctly and they were prepared to go to court and I believe their evidence was crucial in imposing this order," he said.

In November two other tearaways Ryan Wade and Keith Leathers were also given banning orders at the same shops.

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