MORE than 100 people have signed a petition calling for a controversial 'anti-teenager' alarm to be removed from outside Milford Haven library.
On Saturday (July 5), former care worker Gareth Bromhall was outside Milford Haven Town Hall to launch a campaign asking for the 'Mosquito anti-loitering device' to be taken down.
Installed by the Port of Milford Haven in 2012, following complaints from Cedar Court tenants about littering, vandalism and antisocial behaviour, the device emits a high-frequency noise that can only be hear by people under 25.
But Gareth, who suffers from anxiety and depression, says the device harmful to young people, and those with autism, mental illness or mobility problems.
After hearing the alarm for himself when it accidentally sounded during the day, Gareth says he is now too afraid to visit the library in case it alarm goes off again and triggers a panic attack, and is fighting to get the device replaced with “less invasive” technology such as CCTV.
He has started a Facebook campaign group, and has received support from Unite Community, anti-youth unemployment campaigners Youth Fight For Jobs, and Pembrokeshire-based organisation Cwtch, which supports young adults with chronic health conditions.
And James Welch, legal director of human rights campaign group Liberty has called the device a "sonic weapon directed against children".
"They have no place in a civilized society," he added. "How can we teach young people about dignity and respect if we treat all of them as troublemakers?”
“The reason we’re doing this is because we see it as part of a wider attack on young people,” said Gareth.
“Not all teenagers or young people are ‘youths’ – we’re not all bad people.”
Twenty-one-year-old Larry Best added: "All they do is skateboard down there, I don't know how skateboarding became a symbol of anti-social behaviour when it's just a bit of fun."
But Port of Milford Haven spokesman Mark Andrews defended the alarm’s use, saying there had been “a marked drop” in incidents of anti-social behaviour since its introduction.
"The device is only active outside working hours in this non-residential area and therefore would not be noticed by anyone using the library when it is open.
"It is true that it recently experienced a fault that resulted in the device being left on for extended periods of time.
"The fault was reported and has now been fixed and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused."