Lancashire

Lytham '£2m Asbo' man overturns 2003 town centre ban

Simon Frodsham
Image caption Simon Frodsham is now free to enter Lytham

A man who has been repeatedly jailed for defying a ban on entering his home town is free to walk its streets again.

Simon Frodsham was banned from Lytham town centre by an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) imposed in 2003 - but refused to comply.

A district judge, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates' Court, agreed to lift that aspect of the order on Wednesday, his solicitor Stephen Townley said.

Two clauses concerning his behaviour in the town remain in place.

Frodsham, 41, of no fixed abode, was initially banned from the area for repeatedly shoplifting, begging and sleeping in church doorways.

Freedom of movement

He recently told the BBC he had repeatedly defied the order because he believed it to be a "fundamental breach of his civil rights".

As a consequence, Frodsham has about 45 convictions for breaching the Asbo and has spent the majority of the last eight years behind bars.

But the current Asbo, which runs until 15 October 2013, was amended by the judge to give him freedom of movement in Lytham.

Frodsham, who is homeless, is still ordered not to deliberately cause damage or cause other residents harassment or distress.

His solicitor successfully argued that his client had been singled out because Lytham is a relatively affluent area.

Mr Townley said he would never have been singled out in other towns and cities such as Blackpool, Preston or Manchester. He estimates the Asbo has cost taxpayers about £2m.

Lancashire Police had opposed the lifting of the order and believe it remains the right tool for dealing with Mr Frodsham.

"We have a duty to protect the public from incidents of public nuisance and criminal behaviour and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are one way we can do that," said a spokesperson.

"We believe that this Anti-Social Behaviour Order is the right tool for tackling Mr Frodsham's offending and we are pleased that the court is continuing to support it.

"Despite changes to Mr Frodsham's ASBO which allow him more freedom of movement, the key clauses around causing deliberate or reckless damage, or harassment, alarm or distress that impact upon local residents remain."

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