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MORE than half of louts across the region slapped with Antisocial Behaviour Orders (Asbos) have breached them, figures reveal.

Between June 2000 and December 2009, 482 Asbos were dished out by courts across Northumbria, with 281 being breached at least once.

Across Durham, 209 were handed out, with 146 being breached. It means that throughout the whole of the region, 65 per cent were breached at least once.

Former Government advisor on crime, Lord Brian MacKenzie, of Framwellgate Moor, played a pivotal role in introducing Asbos.

He today defended the role of the orders and blamed the courts for not dealing with criminals who are brought back for breaches.

He said: “The Asbo was brought in to give people the opportunity to improve their behaviour.

“It’s an order made before the courts and if someone breaches an Asbo, generally speaking they should be brought back before the court and punished for the original offence.”

The figures released by the Home Office reveal that on average criminals slapped with an Asbo breached the order more than four times.

Lord MacKenzie said: “The problem is the lack of effectiveness and this comes from the fact that the court have been reluctant to send them to prison, for obvious reasons like they are full.

“Now the perpetrators believe they can, and do, continue to break the law and get away with it.”

Asbos were introduced by then prime minister Tony Blair in 1998, with the aim of punishing those who have committed minor crimes that would not warrant prosecution.

In July, Home Secretary Theresa May ordered a review and added she hopes to introduce simpler measures that aim to rehabilitate offenders.

A Home Office spokeswoman said the current powers for dealing with antisocial behaviour do not work and are too bureaucratic.

She said: “Statistics on Asbos, for example, show that 56 per cent of those issued have been breached, many more than once.

“We will soon be consulting on new proposals to tackle antisocial behaviour following our review of tools and powers.”