Beauty therapist Janine Longworth, 39, was stunned when two Police Constable Special Officers arrived at her home following a complaint from a neighbour about her son, Bertie kicking the ball against the front wall of his garden.
The PCSOs said they were following up an 'anonymous noise complaint' and took down Bertie's full name and date of birth. They then told his mother not to let her son play out front with the ball again.
Shocked mum-of-two Janine, from Bolton, Greater Manchester says: "It's just ridiculous that police should come round over an eight-year-old playing football when there must be more serious things going on.
''I would have thought a phone call would have sufficed. At the end of the day it's the start of the school holiday and I would rather my kids be playing out than stuck in. The two officers were really nice but it was just the fact that I couldn't believe that they had been called out for a kid playing football. If he was screaming and noisy and it was a bad time of day then fair enough, but it was 5.30pm.
I can't send him on the park because he's only eight years old. I just don't know what to do now - is it illegal to play football on the street?
Manchester United fan Bertie who plays goalkeeper for Bury Juniors had been practicing his soccer skills with a nine-year-old friend on the road outside his home when the PCSOs arrived at the house.
Janine, who had been cooking the family dinner at the time, says: "I went out to check on them and I saw these two officers coming across and they were talking to them. I don't know what they were saying, then they said to me 'we need a word."
'I thought they were joking, like they do with little boys, they said we've had an anonymous complaint from a neighbour about him playing football. He would have to really boot the ball hard for it to make a noise. They said just try to keep him in the garden.
"Then they just took his name and his date of birth which I thought was absolutely scandalous. They just said they don't want it to happen again. They just said they had to follow it up, they've had a complaint and they had to follow it up which I understand.
Thankfully Bertie wasn't scared but he couldn't understand why they couldn't play football.
''If he was spraying graffiti everywhere fair enough, but it's just tapping a ball against our wall. Bertie plays against his own wall and that's it - especially when the weather's nice. Kids don't want to be locked in the garden, do they?''
Janine, who has another son, Felix, 15 months, admits she does not know what to do now as she fears that the ball could go over the fence and annoy the neighbours if Bertie plays in the back garden, saying:
I don't know what to do for the best - is he allowed to play football? Is he not? I don't know what to do. He's been kept in the garden. I don't know what to do for the best. He's asking me when can I go and play out.
Inspector Phil Spurgeon of Greater Manchester police confirmed the PCSOs responded to a complaint of youths kicking a ball against a house and advised them to move to the back garden, saying: "We received a complaint, we followed it up and the matter was sorted amicably. Antisocial behaviour is an issue that can blight people's lives and it is our duty to take all reports seriously."
Words: Laura Fannon at Cavendish
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