A man described as “the most prolific offender in north Norfolk” has been banned from an area of Fakenham.

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Michael Acton, who has been serving a sentence in Norwich Prison for a string of offences, has been given an interim anti-social behaviour order by magistrates at King’s Lynn.

North Norfolk District Council, working with Norfolk police, applied for the order and said Acton was a persistent, prolific offender who had been convicted of a range of criminal damage and public order offences.

Council solicitor Cara Jordan said Acton was a ringleader of a group of young men and appeared to encourage them to act in an anti-social way.

She said he had failed to change his behaviour despite numerous interventions by the courts and other agencies.

The court heard about a large number of incidents during the year in which Acton’s behaviour had caused “harassment, alarm and distress” to local people. They included being abusive to a pregnant woman, theft and criminal damage in Fakenham town centre, fighting, throwing a rubbish bin on a road and banging on someone’s car window.

Last Thursday – the day before Acton was due to be released from prison – magistrates agreed to grant the interim order, which will prevent him from entering a large area of Fakenham.

The order is in place until March 14, when there will be another hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court.

Acton’s solicitor, Ian Graham, opposed the making of an order. He said Acton was already subject to a restraining order and would be on licence upon his release from prison.

Mr Graham said that, with support from the authorities , there were multiple safeguards in place and argued that an order would not be just.

He said an order would act “as a displacement” and it was where his family lived.

A statement from police read out in court said: “He can be singled out as the most prolific of offenders, not only in Fakenham but in the whole of north Norfolk at present.”

In its order, the court said of Acton: “The court believes that you have acted in an anti-social manner and that this order is necessary to protect people from further anti-social acts by you.”

The order includes a map that outlines the part of Fakenham that Acton cannot enter.

Breaching an order can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine.

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