TWIN sisters who have caused misery for residents, shopkeepers and motorists were today the first children in Lancashire to be slapped with a new court order thwarting their behaviour.
Police told the Evening Post how sisters Ellie and Morgan Cairns, 14, from Callon, Preston, were the ringleaders of a group that has subjected long-suffering residents in Callon and Ribbleton to a campaign of racist abuse and nuisance behaviour.
It includes using racist names, spitting, throwing stones, fruits and vegetables at cars, climbing on flats, sheds and schools, and setting fires.
The civil power, for youths aged 10 and above, is designed to offer protection to victims and communities by preventing anti-social behaviour from continuing or escalating.
The injunctions are similar to ASBIs which exist under housing regulation for housing associations and police to use on nuisance tenants, but can be used in situations other than housing based nuisance behaviour.
The duo, wearing tracksuits, arrived at court – Ellie sporting a black eye and Morgan with scratches – after apparently fighting with each other the night before.
The family had tried to stop the press identifying the girls but the Evening Post won a challenge to prevent reporting restrictions being placed on the case.
District Judge Jane Goodwin, sitting at Preston Youth Court, heard they had first come to the attention of police aged eight, and the group had been causing problems regularly for six years.
She said: “I’m satisfied the two young people have been a blight on the community over the last six years and the order would be more effective if the information was placed within the community.”
Prosecutor Nitin Borde said under the order they would be banned from inciting or causing anti social behaviour in a set area of the city, such as swearing, spitting and using foul or abusive language. They are banned from:
*possessing lighters or matches
*carrying marker pens or spay paint in a public place unless for school purposes
*being outdoors between 8pm and 7am unless with a family member.
* being in a specified area of Callon, Fishwick and Ribbleton, other than to use a certain bus stop or go to and from their home.
In a statement, community officer PC Zaid Hadi said the twins appeared to be the ringleaders of the problem group on the Callon estate and that their mother was supportive of the injunctions.
The judge was presented with a damning dossier of evidence describing various incidents.
It includes a summer community event on Ribbleton Park in which the group of youths threatened to knife a bouncy castle and steal face paints.
The injunctions were today welcomed by a mum-of-three who was spat on and subjected to racist abuse near her home.
The mum, who was too afraid to be named, said: “The group even stole my doorbell, it was found in the twins’ house. They even turned off my gas meter. I couldn’t figure out why I had no hot water one morning.
“They vandalised my property, keyed my car, and threw food at me in the street, crisps or whatever they were eating.
“When they spat at me I found it particularly offensive. I was really upset – it brought me to tears.
“I became worried and anxious about letting my three sons play out. They made racist comments to my nieces and nephews.
“We just want a peaceful life. You feel threatened in your home.”
Shopkeeper Syed Shah, of Callon Stores on Waldon Street, described racist abuse, and the group stealing younger children’s scooters from outside his shop, and throwing stones and said he too welcomed the injunctions.
Reports were made of the group running into shops on New Hall Lane and throwing fruit and vegetables at passing traffic.
An ice cream van was graffitied, and various complaints have been made of the group climbing on buildings.
A man living in a block of flats said the group, sometimes as large as 18, would cause problems and damage in the flats which had left him anxious.
The girls have not been convicted of any criminal offence but the injunction relates to a period of behaviour by the group, the court heard.
The order was sought by police with support from Community Gateway, the city council, and the youth offending team,
Insp Paul McLernon, of Preston Police, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved who has helped in obtaining these injunctions. I am happy that the orders have been granted.
“The behaviour of these two girls has caused significant distress to residents in the area.
“We hope the injunctions will prevent further incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour and reassure the community we have listened to their concerns.
“I would encourage the community to call 101 and report any breaches to us.”