Criminal banned from five Sunderland areas after reign of terror

A man who terrified Sunderland residents has been slapped with a court order banishing him from parts of the city for three years.

Monday, 18th December 2017, 2:31 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 2:35 pm
Robert Friendship Smith.

Robert Friendship Smith, aged 20, of Cranleigh Road, in Hylton Castle, Sunderland, is now banned from Hylton Castle, Town End Farm, Downhill, Red House and Castletown until December 7, 2020, as a result of the Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).

He is also forbidden from causing harassment, alarm and distress to anybody in England and Wales over the same period.

Smith is currently serving a six-month custodial sentence until March 2018 for a racially aggravated affray in Downhill in July this year.

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The order was granted after evidence was submitted to the court that Smith had caused significant issues in the north of the city for a number of years.

Every effort was made by police and partner organisations to address his behaviour - which even saw housing organisation Gentoo successfully ban him from his own home earlier this year at Sunderland County Court.

Yet he continued to cause significant crime and disorder throughout the summer and continued to be the focus for the Sunderland North Neighbourhood Policing Team.

On his release from prison, should he attempt to set foot in the exclusion zone or verbally abuse anyone then he will be arrested.

The order has been judged "the most significant success" for the Sunderland North Safer Estates partnership in which police work closely with Gentoo and Sunderland City Council’s anti-social behaviour (ASB) team.

Sunderland North Neighbourhood Inspector Don Wade said: “First of all I would like to thank Gentoo and Sunderland ASB team for their support on this matter, and the many other cases we have been involved in and are still involved in.

"This effective partnership working has led to our most significant success to date and, I hope, will offer some reprieve to the local community for quite a few years.

“Smith’s persistent behaviour was understandably causing local residents a lot of distress and I hope they now feel they can continue their daily lives in a safer environment without having to put up with this on-going anti-social behaviour.

“We know Smith is not the only individual who has caused issues in the area and the local community can be assured we are preparing similar Criminal Behaviour Orders for other persistent offenders in the area and are actively seeking to impose conditions to stop them from engaging in future criminality and preying upon local areas and vulnerable residents.”

The chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman, added: “I hope that imposing this ban demonstrates that we will not hesitate to take the strongest possible actions available to prevent anyone causing others in the community distress.

“We expect everyone to treat people and the community with respect, and if they fail to do that, they will have to suffer the consequences of their unacceptable actions.

“Our Anti-Social Behaviour Team works very closely with our community safety partners including Northumbria Police and Gentoo to identify anyone or anything causing concern, and then take the appropriate course action to address it.”

Anyone who is concerned about or witnesses anti-social behaviour should contact police on 101.