A three-year-old tot is the youngest girl in Britain to be threatened with an ASBO – for PLAYING outside her home.
The parents of 3ft-tall Caidence Leadbitter were stunned when they received a letter from West Midlands Police saying their neighbours had complained about her “intimidating behaviour.”
Caidence, along with her two friends, sisters Isabel Cox, four, and seven-year-old Ellie-Louise, have been accused of trampling plants and trees in Smiths Wood, Solihull, West Mids.
In a letter from PCSO Allan Cameron to Caidence’s mum Kelly, 31, he warned that the local council, who have the power to apply for ASBOs, may “act accordingly”, if there is further damage.
PCSO Cameron, of Solihull Police, wrote: “Reports have been received about a rise in anti-social behaviour.
“It is understood that children like to play outdoors, however this has been observed to extend to minor damage to nearby trees and trampling of plants underfoot.
“This is not an ideal situation and is perceived as slightly intimidating to elderly neighbours to see any large groups of children congregating.
“If any subsequent damage is identified it may well be the case that Solihull Council will be informed and indeed may act accordingly.”
Yesterday Kelly expressed outrage that her daughter, who does not start primary school for another year, had been branded “a yob”.
She said: “Caidence plays outside our home but she’s never caused any trouble. She’s the sweetest little girl you could hope for.
“I can’t believe the police are basically accusing her of being some kind of anti-social yob. It’s madness.”
Ellie-Louise and Isabel’s furious mum Claire Cox, 30, said she was stunned by the letter which she also received.
The shop assistant said: “I’m totally shocked.
“The letter implies they are not being looked after properly and could be given ASBOs.
“But they are not intimidating at all – two of them are aged just three and four.
“The reason I know that the letter is aimed at them is because they are the only children in the area who play in front of the houses.
“There are other older children who live nearby, but they do not play near here. The older ones go to the local park.
“I’m lucky I live in a road where they can safely play outside and I encourage them to play out as much as possible.
“During the school term they go out between 4pm and 5pm and during the holidays they go out at about 11am.
“I don’t want them sat in the house all day watching TV. I would like to know who they can possibly intimidate in the area?
“The letters say they have damaged a bush that runs along the front of all the houses and have trampled on flowers.
“I called up Solihull Council to ask if the bush could be moved or fenced off, so the kids could play without the fear of getting an ASBO.
“They said it was unlikely, but they would submit my request.
“There are a lot of elderly people who live nearby, but there are no problems with most of them.
“In fact, I think they like to hear the sound of children playing outside.”
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police said the force takes “anti-social behaviour very seriously because of the negative impact it can have on our communities”.
She added: “We certainly do not want to stop children from enjoying the outdoors particularly during the summer months, however when we get reports of anti-social behaviour from residents we understandably must act.
“In this instance, the local PCSO – who is in daily contact with this community and is aware of concerns raised by some residents – has politely asked parents to be mindful of their children’s behaviour following damage to some trees and plants in the area.”
West Midlands Police said ASBOs could only be issued to children over the age of 10.
Superintendent Kevin Doyle said: “The neighbourhood police letter was a general reminder about anti-social behaviour; it was not aimed at any family in-particular.
“There was no mention of ASBOs in the letter and, legally, we cannot issue the orders to anyone under 10-years-old.
“The youngest person ever handed an anti-social behaviour order in Birmingham is 11-years-old.”
Kelly said the fact her three-year-old daughter had been accused of “anti-social behaviour” amounted to her being threatened with an ASBO.
She fumed: “When you get a letter through your door from the police effectively saying your child has been engaging in anti-social behaviour you think of ASBOs.
“It may be illegal to give children under the age of 10 an ASBO but that doesn’t matter because people will think that my daughter has been threatened with an ASBO as a result of this letter.”
*The youngest tot in Britain to be threatened with an ASBO was two-year-old tearaway Lennon Poyser who was accused of terrorising his neighbours in Lincoln in 2009.