Leather footballs have been made illegal in one area of the UK after the council received some noise complaints.
Sefton Council in Merseyside has been slammed for its “absurd” move which allows local authorities to issue diktats banning messy gardens, noisy TVs and even “messy” chalk markings.
The council used its powers to impose a community protection notice (CPN) on a local school following “a large number of complaints raised by residents”, reported Mail Online.
The notice banned the use of “heavy leather footballs” and demanded that pupils only use “light flyway or foam footballs” instead.
The recent notice is among a number of bizarre CPNs imposed by councils across England in recent years.
The move has been unearthed by campaign group the Manifesto Club, which challenges what it calls “the hyper-regulation of public spaces”.
The group claimed that the “cowboy powers” should be scrapped, arguing that the majority of CPNs are “unnecessary” or could be pursued in other ways.
The campaigners found that almost 26,000 community protection warnings (CPWs) and CPNs were issued across England last year, up from 14,000 in 2014/15, reports the Telegraph.
Sefton Council said it has only imposed the ban on leather balls for a few months, after which the “successful” order was lifted.
Some CPNs were also used to target serious issues such as domestic abuse and drugs and violence.
However, the Manifesto Club claims using community powers in this way risks ‘trivialis(ing) criminal activity’ and prevents police from properly investigating potential crimes.
It has called for CPNs to be scrapped, branding the notices “unnecessary”. Josie Appleton, director of the Manifesto Club, said: “Officials appear to have created a blank cheque power and then washed their hands of it.
“It’s only because of Manifesto Club FOIs (Freedom of Information requests) that we know that there have been nearly 50,000 CPNs issued since 2014.
“The Home Office doesn’t keep basic data or monitor the use of this power – there have been no government studies on whether CPNs are appropriately issued, or are effective. The Home Office needs to fill this gap, and fast, before more innocent people are slapped with absurd legal orders’.