A FORMER councillor has been banned from entering civic buildings and 'harassing' council staff in a landmark case in Rossendale.

The council's legal team applied for an injunction against ex-borough councillor Noel O’Brien, of Mercer Crescent, Helmshore, after they said he 'persistently behaved in an abusive and threatening way towards council staff and contractors' over the last three years.

Granting the injunction at Burnley County Court on Monday, Deputy Judge Peter Haworth, told the former Haslingden councillor the action was being taken to protect council staff.

It is thought to be the first time Rossendale Council has taken such action against a resident.

After the hearing, Stuart Sugarman, the borough’s director of business, said: “The council has taken this action very reluctantly and only because of the exceptional circumstances.

“We repeatedly warned Mr O’Brien that his behaviour was unacceptable, but he failed to take notice and continued to be verbally abusive and to threaten council workers.

“In these circumstances we had no choice but to apply for an injunction to protect our staff and contractors.

“The council has clear procedures in place and will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards council officers and agents.”

O’Brien, in recent years, has been physically ejected by police from council meetings, 'verbally abused' NHS East Lancashire officials at a public meeting and was escorted from Bacup Leisure Hall by police officers at a borough council election count.

A year ago he was wrestled to the floor by security staff when he tried to enter Blackburn College in breach of an order banning him from all campus buildings.

The latest injunction prevents him from harassing staff and contractors or conducting himself 'in a manner that would cause alarm or distress either in person, on the telephone or by any other means and from entering premises owned or occupied by the council'.

O’Brien,who represented himself and unsuccessfully opposed the move, was ordered to pay £7,024 towards the council’s costs of taking the action