ASBO Given To 87-Year-Old Gosport Woman

An 87-year-old woman has been given an interim anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) for playing her radio too loud and banging her walking stick on the wall.

Georgina Sims was handed the order after neighbours complained about the noise at her home in Martello Close in Gosport.

The pensioner was initially given a noise abatement notice by Gosport Borough Council in August 2010 but after she failed to comply she was given an interim Asbo in October last year.

She was also given a six-month conditional discharge and told to pay £500 costs after admitting two charges of flouting the noise abatement order at Fareham Magistrates' Court.

The council then withdrew its application for a full Asbo when Sims moved house.

A council spokeswoman said:

''The council has been mindful throughout these proceedings that Ms Sims is an 87-year-old with some health issues, and at the same time the serious effect her conduct has had over many months on the health of her immediate neighbours.

''Initially police and environmental health officers made an informal approach to try and engage with Ms Sims to explain the conduct, namely playing her music so loudly and banging on the wall day and night, was not acceptable and that she was causing great distress to her neighbours.

''The council and police liaised extensively with the health agencies and tried to make contact with her family, initially without success, to see if they would intervene.

''The prosecution and application for a post-conviction Asbo was supported by the police and very much a last resort but necessary because the persistent din and banging against the party wall did not abate despite the best efforts of the council and police to satisfactorily resolve the matter without the delay, expense, and stress of court proceedings.

''Officers also asked the neighbours to keep a record of the offending noise nuisance and when they heard the tapes they were shocked at how loud and repetitive it was.

''It was by this time causing great distress to the neighbours.

''As the noise continued council officers visited the lady again and served an abatement notice, explaining that if she carried on with the noise her equipment could be seized and she could even be prosecuted as noise nuisance is an offence.

''However again she ignored the abatement notice so the council applied to the magistrates for permissions to seize the equipment.

''Still continuing with the noise against her neighbours meant that Ms Sims was then prosecuted and an Interim Asbo order was made against her.

"Ms Sims was legally represented throughout the proceedings and assisted by her daughter, who lives in France, at the court hearings.

''She pleaded guilty to the offences and did not apply to discharge the Interim Asbo but has since sold her property, (which was up for sale before this situation arose) so the council has withdrawn its application for a full Asbo.''

The spokeswoman added that the magistrate told Sims that she had committed ''deliberate acts of nuisance over a considerable period of time and after many warnings and a previous court hearing'', and added: ''It must have been unbearable for your (Ms Sims') neighbours''.

Sims' daughter Bev Batten said that her mother needed help, not court proceedings, as she suffered from tinnitus and had been having a ''breakdown''.

She told the Portsmouth News: ''It was obvious she needed help.

''She was genuinely hearing noises. She didn't have a vendetta against the neighbours.''

Neighbour Chris Adams told the paper: ''It was absolute hell. It made us ill.''