MORE than 150 unruly children have been banned from libraries and leisure centres across the borough in the past two years.
Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request revealed that since the start of 2010, 152 children – some as young as 12 – have been banned from 15 of the borough’s libraries and leisure centres. The bans, some of which are for 18 months, have been slapped on the yobs for being abusive to staff, criminal behaviour, fighting, swearing and dangerous behaviour.
One incident saw a youngster steal five computer games from Wigan Library before being caught with them in the town centre by a PCSO. The child was banned from the library for 12 months.
Another incident resulted in a youngster being banned from Leigh Library for 18 months after threatening to set a member of staff on fire.
Other incidents resulting in bans included verbal sexual abuse, drinking in a library and stealing plants.
Racist comments, vandalism and looking at pornographic content on library computers are just some other reasons why youngsters received bans.
Marsh Green Library has the most offences resulting in children being banned.
Since the start of 2010, 51 youngsters have been banned from the premises, with bans ranging from one to nine months.
A spokesman for Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, which manages the facilities on behalf of Wigan Council, said: “Aggressive and unruly behaviour in our facilities will not be tolerated, and we will always take swift and appropriate action.”
The figures revealed that only two places in the borough had not banned any children in the last two years – Robin Park Sports Centre and Arena and Tyldesley Pool.
At Standish Library, a youngster was banned for a month after vandalising the toilet area, and at Leigh Sports Centre a youngster was banned for two months for trying to look into the women’s changing area.