A TEENAGER has been fined for knocking over a snowman.

The 19-year-old, who had been drinking, walked into the garden of a little girl's home and was verbally abusive. He then knocked over the snowman, which the child made after a freak snow shower last month.

The youth was arrested and interviewed at Swinton police station. Now, after admitting his guilt, he has been issued with an ?80 fixed penalty fine for a public order offence. The fine covered pushing over the snowman and using verbal intimidating behaviour.

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The attack on the 10-year-old's frozen sculpture happened in the Clifton area of Salford. The child's mother went out to speak to the youth and later reported the incident to police.

Coun David Lancaster, Salford's spokesman on crime and disorder, said: "In the circumstances I think the action taken was appropriate. He should not have been trespassing on someone's property, and abusive language cannot be tolerated."

Threat

Police decided to issue a fixed penalty fine rather than referring the matter to the courts because the incident didn't involve a sufficient level of threatening behaviour.

Last month it was revealed yobs are failing to pay half of the on-the-spot fines dished out by police. Last year offenders ignored 47,000 of the 97,680 tickets issued nationally by police.

But violent crime has plummeted in Manchester thanks to the use of fines to tackle anti-social behaviour as part of a crackdown on binge drinking.

Since the zero tolerance campaign began the number of serious assaults has dropped by 50 per cent.

Fines range from ?30 to ?80 and the crimes covered include wasting police time, throwing fireworks, being drunk, and throwing stones at trains.

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