A PINT-SIZED lawbreaker has become the youngest person in Kirklees to be given an anti-social behaviour order.

Huddersfield Youth Court made the order after hearing how tiny Liam McLoughlin, who is just 13 and less than five feet tall, had a record that included wounding, assault, criminal damage and theft stretching back to 1999.

McLoughlin, of Yews Hill Road, Lockwood, could be locked up for two years if he breaks the terms of the five-year order.

He is forbidden from taking part in abusive, threatening or insulting behaviour or inciting others to do so.

Sentencing him, chairman of magistrates Edwin Jefferson commented: "We believe an order is necessary to protect persons in any place in England and Wales from any further anti-social acts."

McLoughlin appeared in court yesterday with his father, John, who praised his son's more recent good conduct.

He said: "This order, I think, will just put him back to square one. He's doing really well."

McLoughlin had earlier pleaded guilty to handling stolen property.

He was stopped by police at 12.50am on May 22 walking along Lockwood Scar with a mobile phone and six car keys, taken from Lockwood Scar Garage.

He and another youngster were carrying the items in a plastic box.

The anti-social behaviour order was `tagged' on to McLoughlin's 12-month supervision order for that offence.

Prosecutor Sharon Heels said the teenager was a persistent troublemaker.

She said: "He has been sentenced for six offences ranging from wounding to theft."

She told the court the teenager had breached most of the five court orders imposed over the years.

"Because of this past conduct, this offending behaviour, it is necessary we need an ASBO.

"It's not for Liam's benefit - it is to protect the community from further anti-social acts."

Rebecca Thorley, representing McLoughlin, said he had a troubled family background.

"His behaviour really started to go downhill in 2000 when he was excluded from infant and junior school for violence against a teacher," she said.

She said he was a child who had been let down by the system.

And she criticised anti-social behaviour orders in general.

"It's often a back door way of getting children sent to prison," she said.

Sentencing McLoughlin, Mr Jefferson lifted the anonymity normally given to under 18s.

"We believe the general public interest lies in the ability of the public to identify the person the court seeks to protect them from."


* First order in Kirklees issued on January 6, 2000

* There are now 23 orders in force, with more in the pipeline

* Orders in Kirklees cover people in areas including Almondbury, Berry Brow, Mirfield and Lowerhouses

* Three police officers-Sgt Julie Astbury, Pc Julie Diamond and Pc Mark Rodham-are attached to a special unit with Kirklees Council headed by Bill Swap and Gary Collins to work on orders

* Anti-social behaviour orders apply to adults and to juveniles.

Related stories