A CONTROVERSIAL device that produces an annoying high-pitched noise to disperse youths has won the backing of the Home Secretary.
The Mosquito™, devised by Merthyr Tydfil-based inventor Howard Stapleton, emits a noise at a frequency only young people and teenagers can hear.
They can be used by beleaguered shopkeepers and takeaway owners to scatter gangs of youths gathering outside their shops.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson stressed his personal commitment to the devices when addressing MPs during Home Office questions and added that he felt the devices were “very helpful” in aiding communities plagued by groups of “rowdy young people”.
He was responding to a call from Labour MP Natascha Engel for the devices to be banned because she claimed they were discriminatory.
Mr Johnson told MPs:
“I do think there is evidence that shows these devices can be very helpful where people feel a congregation of rowdy young people is actually adversely affecting their quality of life.”
But it has attracted criticism from civil rights campaigners, who complain that the devices discriminate against the young.
In December, First Great Western trains were forced to turn off the device at a Devon station after complaints from young travellers.
Feb 10 2010 by Graham Henry, South Wales Echo