POLICE were said to have goaded a north Swindon girl ahead of her 16th birthday.

The girl’s solicitor, Emma Thacker, claimed officers had told the teen they had a present for her. That gift turned out to be a community protection notice banning her from swathes of north Swindon, including her favourite hang-out behind the Orbital Shopping Centre.

Since the start of August, the girl, who cannot be named because she is under-18, has been charged with breaking the order on six occasions – with police spotting her around the retail park.

Ms Thacker criticised the order as essentially unworkable. That order banned her from going within 100 metres of any school except her own unless accompanied by a parent, behaving in an anti-social manner and excluded her from going to an area highlighted on a map handed to her by police.

The solicitor said the map given to her client was unclear and did not specifically name the roads from which she was banned. She said the girl had been arrested at the Manor Farm pub, which did not seem to be covered by the exclusion area in the map she had been given.

She questioned why her client had been banned from entering the entire borough of Swindon under police bail conditions after she was charged with a public order offence: “I have never even known an adult to have the bail condition to be excluded from the entirety of the borough of Swindon for a Section 5 public order offence.” While she currently lived elsewhere, Swindon was her hometown and where her friends lived.

Prosecuting, Nick Barr said he couldn’t understand the bail condition not to enter Swindon. He suggested the “bail conditions have been imposed because the police are fed up with arresting her for breaching the community protection notice”. He added: “That’s the wrong approach. I am writing to the police and I will point that out.”

The girl pleaded guilty to six counts of breaching a community order, a public order offence and breaching bail conditions. Magistrates adjourned the case for sentence at Swindon Youth Court on September 10.

Responding to criticism of the community protection notice, Sgt Caroline Burt of Swindon North community policing team said: “I’m sure the public will appreciate that dealing with young offenders is a complex issue, which can require careful and sensitive handling.

“We always work closely with partner agencies in these types of cases, as it is crucial that we have a joined-up approach with organisations such as the local authority and the youth offending team.

“Although we cannot comment on this exact case, orders such as community protection warnings and community protection notices can be a vital tool in tackling anti-social behaviour and very often include conditions preventing people from visiting parts of a town or city."

“However, if we receive correspondence from the courts about this particular notice we will of course consider it and make changes if necessary.”