A CAMPAIGN to get a ‘sonic weapon against children’ removed from outside Milford Haven library has been backed by almost 200 people.
Former care worker Gareth Bromhall, 21, is petitioning the Port of Milford Haven to take down the ‘Mosquito’ high-frequency alarm, which is used to keep young people from loitering outside the library after it is closed.
Installed by the Port of Milford Haven in 2012, the device emits a high-frequency noise that can only be heard by under-25s.
After hearing the alarm for himself when it accidentally sounded during the day, Gareth – who suffers from anxiety and depression - says he is now too afraid to visit the library in case it goes off again and triggers a panic attack.
He believes the device could also be harmful to young people, and those with autism, mental illness or mobility problems.
Gareth also feels more should be done to help youngsters, instead of punishing them for hanging around.
“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."
Gareth’s Facebook campaign has been backed by a number of organisations, including Pembrokeshire-based Cwtch, which supports young adults with chronic health conditions.
And James Welch, legal director of human rights campaign group Liberty has slammed the use of Mosquito device, calling it 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?”
To sign Gareth’s petition, visit you.38degrees.org.uk and search ‘Remove Mosquito Device/Audio Weapon from Milford Haven Library’.