- Scott Smith and his partner Andrea Riley suffered months of abuse from teenage vandals who damaged their cars and attacked their dog
- Couple installed a ‘mosquito alarm’ outside their Royton home in Manchester
- It emits a high pitched sound which only people aged under 25 can hear
- But a neighbour claims her son, 2, has suffered ear problems because of device
- Couple are now being investigated under noise nuisance laws by the council
A middle class couple are being investigated under noise nuisance laws after they installed a high pitched ‘mosquito’ alarm to stop teenage vandals from loitering outside their home.
Royal Mail manager Scott Smith, 39, and his partner Andrea Riley, 43, purchased the alarm which causes ear discomfort to people aged under 25 after suffering months of vandalism, abuse and even air gun attacks on their mini Pom dog.
Now whenever the gang of vandals, who have also made racist comments to Burmese Miss Riley, approach the couple’s home in Royton, near Oldham, Greater Manchester, they can activate the alarm which forces them to move out of its 40 yard range.
But the device has now landed the couple in trouble with their local council – after neighbours complained it was hurting their children’s ears.
The legal alarms have previously been used at shopping centres to disperse gangs of youths – as their high pitched frequency generally can’t be heard by people aged over 25.
So after months of struggling to get rid of the teenage vandals, Mr Smith and Miss Riley forked out £600 for a ‘Mosquito’ device of their own – and now turn it on from their bedroom if youngsters start causing trouble outside.
But the couple’s neighbours have complained the device has forced them to get medical treatment for their children because of headaches, ear problems and even physical sickness caused by the ‘mosquito’ alarm.
The couple are being investigated by council environmental health officials for possible noise nuisance offences.
Mr Smith said: ‘There has been an ongoing problem and this is the only thing that seems to have worked. I’m not a grumpy old man who hates children.
‘Because Andrea is Maltese some of the children started making racist comments. There was damage to our cars because the kids kept hitting them with footballs. Our dog got hurt.
‘And they make a lot of noise when we have come home from working very long days. This device has been a miracle for us.’
Mr Smith and Miss Riley, a care worker who have lived at their house for 20 years, said the street had become like a ‘council estate’ with his Audi TT car being scratched and bumped. On one occasion, chip pan oil was even poured around Miss Riley’s Fiat 500.
The couple also claim their mini Pom dog, Elle, has been attacked by children with air guns and Miss Riley has been subjected to racist rants.
Mr Smith said: ‘We were struggling to cope with the all the trouble we’ve had and the police unofficially recommended this device to us. McDonald’s and Tesco use it so I couldn’t see a problem with us using it.
‘We don’t leave it on 24/7 and we use it sensibly. It is legal to have and use in Europe and it is no higher than a busy road and it is set to two decibels under the legal requirements.
‘There is nothing wrong with kids playing, but it escalates and they get rowdy and they start screaming and swearing. We fear as though we are the bad guys when we have nothing but problems with some kids. They climb in and out of the windows, kick doors in, sometimes we have it until 11.30pm and they will throw things over the fence.
‘We are worn out with it and it is putting tension on our relationship whilst dealing with stressful jobs. We are pushed to the limit but when we first used the device, it shifted them on and we even gave each other a celebratory hug.
‘We thought it was worth the price but to be honest I would have even paid £5,000 for it. It’s on show, we are not hiding it at all and it seems to be a deterrent.
‘We are the victims. They are saying the children are on medication and are having headaches but it is a totally legal device. You just switch it on – even the police use it.
‘We are in work all day and we do 50-60 hours a week and we dreaded coming home so we are making excuses to stay at work longer.
‘We had the conservatory done only two years ago and spent over £30,000 on our house and yet we can’t sit there and enjoy it anymore. We have even tried sitting out with earphones on but they are still throwing stuff. They run riot.‘
Miss Riley added: ‘We feel as though no one is helping us, we understand that the police are on cutbacks and have limited resources but we are fighting a losing battle. We just want a quiet life.
‘We had 15 years of pure bliss where we could just hear the birds and it was a proper neighbourhood with people working like ourselves. But because of the current climate it has changed, people can’t afford to rent so the social takes the house and we get people like that. The last thing I expected was to have problems with neighbours.
‘I feel really harassed. I feel as though I am being pushed to the limits and I’m very stressed. They all congregate around my wall and I am at my wits end. The kids all shout ‘Paki woman Paki woman’ at me over and over. They taunt me.
‘If you give me the golden ticket I will be out of here. We have worked hard all our lives to avoid living on a council estate and that’s what our street has turned in to now.’
But their neighbour, mother-of-four Michelle Plevin, 27, a hairdresser who lives next door to the couple said: ‘The alarm is on for twenty minutes at a time and whenever it comes on the children know about it straight away.
‘They can’t play outside anymore because the noise bothers them so much. My youngest has problems with his ears as it is and the alarm has made him physically sick before. He cries and says it hurts and there is nothing I can do to help him. It’s awful.
‘I understand that they don’t want kids on their property or near their cars but my children keep themselves to themselves. They just play together and I don’t see what is wrong with that.
‘They only ever play in the garden because they’re not allowed to play on the road. I know they make a bit of noise when they’re on the trampoline but that can’t be helped.
‘They are children and they should be able to play in their own garden without being bothered by this horrible alarm.’
Labour councillor Steven Bashworth from Oldham Council said: ‘Officers from the Environmental Health department have visited the steet and spoken to the owner and local residents. We are carrying out a thorough investigation and cannot comment further.
‘Oldham Council is committed to investigating any noise complaints and we will always take the appropriate action.’