Gloucestershire

Anti-social Birch family escape jail

Birch family
Image caption The Birch family were evicted from their Gloucester home in December

Members of a family responsible for a string of anti-social incidents have been given suspended sentences for breaching injunctions.

Michael, Trudie and Ellen Birch, and family friend Robert Edwards, were all sentenced to six weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months.

Gloucester County Court heard they caused nuisance to neighbours in the city by shouting and swearing.

The judge said former neighbours were "pleased" they had now moved away.

The defendants were found guilty at an earlier hearing of five counts of breaching anti-social behaviour injunctions issued last October - including annoying neighbours in Russell Street, Gloucester by shouting at them, pushing them and threatening them with violence.

The court heard Michael, 69, and Trudie Birch, 28, have now been housed temporarily in Stroud, but this arrangement was likely to end later this week.

'History of disobedience'

Ellen Birch, 23, and Mr Edwards told the court they were now homeless.

District Judge David Hebblethwaite described the breaches as "serious", and said their previous neighbours were now "pleased" they had moved away.

He said they all had a "history of disobedience of court orders", and said the breaches were committed shortly after the order was made.

"However you no longer live in the city and you appear to want to make a new start and not cause harassment to neighbours," he said on passing the suspended sentence.

Michael, Trudie and Ellen Birch have all served custodial sentences previously, and Mr Edwards has previously been given a suspended sentence, for similar offences.

The family were featured on BBC Inside Out West on BBC One earlier this week.

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