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Banned from wearing a hoodie

Written by Admin on Wednesday 12 April 2006

IF MARK WAINFUR pulls up the hood on his sweat top he will be breaking the law.

This extraordinary fact emerged yesterday when magistrates finally got tough on hoodies.

The notorious troublemaker is pictured here hoodless because he has been forbidden by an Anti-Social Behaviour Order from wearing hooded tops to hide his face.

Shopping centres across the UK have already imposed orders banning youngsters from wearing the sweat top fashion, which is blamed for creating fear and causing crime. Even city centres are considering bans on hoodies being worn.

Now Wainfur, 20, is risking two years in jail because he says he will refuse to stop wearing his hoodies. He yesterday vowed to carry on wearing his hooded tops - because he says he has nothing else in his wardrobe to wear.

Wainfur, from Newport, said, "I'm never going to stop wearing hoodies. They are my favourite clothes.

"All my tops are hoodies - I haven't got anything else to wear. It's ******* stupid.

"I don't have any money to buy new clothes and if they paid me to get some I'd probably buy more hoodies."

Wainfur and his brother Peter, 17, were both given three-year Asbos for terrorising their neighbourhood.

A condition of the Asbo bans them from wearing "hoodies or scarfs to hide their identities".

Hoodies have become notorious street wear used by yobs to cover up their faces while causing mayhem. That has seen the garment banned in many shopping centres and pubs.

But jobless Wainfur was yesterday back in a navy blue Nike hoodie with matching tracksuit bottoms as he took his pit bull terrier Skitz for a walk.

He said, "I don't care what they say. I do what I want, not what other people want me to do.

"What can they have against an item of clothing? This is all down to my neighbours ringing the police every time I show my face."

The Wainfur brothers have caused havoc around Palm Square in Somerton, Newport, for years. They were given their first Asbo in 2002 which has now been extended for another three years by Newport magistrates. The brothers are also prohibited from threatening, harassing or pestering a man with learning difficulties who lives in their neighbourhood.

The pair are banned from gathering with large groups of people, pestering their neighbours or insulting police officers and council employees.

A Gwent Police spokesman said, "If either Mark or Peter are seen wearing hooded tops in the area specified by the Asbo they will be arrested.

"The maximum penalty for breaching the Asbo is two years in prison."

But neighbours yesterday called on police to arrest Wainfur for flouting the Asbo.

One woman, 37, said, "It's a joke and he's just laughing at the law.

"Those boys have caused havoc around here for years and they need to be taught a lesson once and for all.

"They think they are so tough and it needs someone to teach them a short, sharp lesson - let's see how they look in a prison uniform instead of hoodies."

Norman Wells, director of the charity Family and Youth Concern, said, "The key thing is not whether a child is wearing a hood, it is the way they are behaving.

"I have got little daughters and they have jumpers with hoods and sometimes they might put them on, but that doesn't mean they are a danger to anyone.

"The key thing is whether their behaviour is threatening. I could understand it if they are trying to hide their identity, but if it is just the latest fashion I can't see there is any basis for the banning of them wearing hoods."

Maesteg Comprehensive has banned hooded tops which some youths use to conceal their identities while involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.

Last May, Bluewater retail mall in Kent won praise from Prime Minister Tony Blair after it said anyone caught wearing a baseball cap or hooded top would be thrown out and repeat offenders would be banned.

And the Deiniol shopping centre in Bangor also claims it led the way in the ban after having trouble identifying youths on CCTV.

This week it has emerged that city councillors are considering banning hoodies in designated areas of Birmingham. Conservative councillors listed the suggestion, which could see hooded tops banned in shopping centres and entertainment areas across the city, in its manifesto for the local council elections.

The ban, if imposed, would be the first of its kind in a British city and would be designed to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

A Welsh inventor has even come up with an "anti-hoodie" device which gives shopkeepers a way to drive youngsters away from their shop fronts.

The device, "The Mosquito," emits infuriating high-frequency sounds. While unbearable to those under about 20 years old, they cannot be heard by most older people.

Inventor Howard Stapleton, from Merthyr Tydfil, perfected the device by testing it on his four children.

Author Aled Blake
Publication Western Mail
Date 12 April 2006
Link icwales.co.uk

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