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British inventor of teen-repellent device wants laws regulating it

Written by CSS Admin on Thursday 03 April 2008

The British inventor of a controversial device which disperses young people by emitting a high-pitched noise which only they can hear called Wednesday for legislation to regulate its use.

Self-confessed "mad inventor" Howard Stapleton developed the Mosquito after his 15-year-old daughter was harassed by youths hanging around a local shop.

The device emits an irritating high-pitched pulse that most people aged under 20 can hear but almost nobody over 30 can.

Stapleton said he has sold around 4,000 Mosquitos in Europe and North America.

However, the device has provoked protests from some civil liberties campaigners, while some 7,000 people signed an Internet petition to ban it in Europe.

Earlier Wednesday, the European Commission said it would not ban the Mosquito, despite the complaints.

"I would like the assistance of central governments to cover fair usage," Stapleton told AFP.

"I never intended it to make kid-free zones but to combat anti-social behaviour and it should only be used where there is that."

He added: "I would really like to see... legislation put into place...for usage for my device."

And Stapleton suggested that customers should sign a contract saying it would only be used to combat anti-social behaviour by young people.

The devices, which sell for about 495 pounds (985 US dollars, 630 euros) spread to mainland Europe from Britain through word of mouth and press coverage.

The Mosquito has distributors in European countries including France, the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland, as well as in the United States and Canada.

Stapleton insisted the device was not loud enough to damage childrens' hearing, describing it as being like "a demented alarm clock."

Author -
Publication Sydney Morning Herald
Date 03 April 2008

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