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Church bans ASBO man

26 November 2008

by Ed Beavan

A COURT has handed down an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) banning a man from every church in England and Wales.

The four-year order was issued to Raymond Woods at Guildford Magistrates Court, after a campaign of theft, damage, and intimidation to churches in Godalming, and across the Farnham deanery, over the past 15 years. He is now allowed in church only to attend a service, or by official invitation from a church representative.

The Revd Canon John Ashe, Team Rector of Godalming, said that Mr Woods’s threatening behaviour had “prevented others from entering churches”. Many people, he said, had offered help to Mr Woods, and it was hoped that it might be possible for him “to have a more positive relationship with the rest of society”.

The Revd Mark Rudall, the diocesan director of communications, said churches of all denominations had been targeted by Mr Woods. “I think the clergy and churches of the Godalming area have been extraor­dinarily patient in their handling of this very difficult situation.

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