ASB Ball games

Concerns about ball games are one of the most common complaints we receive - especially in the summer months. If you feel you have cause to complain about children/young people playing ball games causing you a nuisance, alarm or distress, we may be able to investigate and where necessary take appropriate action.

This guide should give you the information you need and help you contact the relevant organisation.

Young people do have a right to play and interact with each other. Play is crucial to a child's development and should be encouraged. However, everyone has a right to be treated respectfully, enjoy their home and know that their property is safe.

Football and other ball games in themselves are NOT anti-social behaviour or illegal. In many cases young people may be unaware they are causing other people distress. Often it is not the ball game which is the problem, but the way and where they are played.

Please consider the following before making a complaint:

  • Young people do have a right to play, especially in their own neighbourhood
  • Parents/guardians may wish their young children to play near to home for their own safety
  • It is reasonable to expect a certain level of noise from children/youths playing after school, at weekends and in the evening (usually until dusk unless in a formal lit play area), especially in residential areas
  • Ball games are part of the school educational curriculum and will be played on school playing fields both during and after school times.
  • Shouting, cheering, applause and laughing are to be expected on public open space/playing fields (especially during competitive matches) and is not normally considered a noise nuisance
  • “No ball games” signs on public space are a request not a byelaw – they cannot be enforced
  • It is not illegal to play football on a grassed verge or open space
  • There may be only one grassed area for younger children to play safely in their own neighbourhood
  • Sometimes it is better for young people to divert their energies into playing sport rather than doing other things
  • Compromise, create a dialogue and speak to your neighbours to find an agreeable time and location to play.
  • Open spaces are for the use of everyone, including children and young people.
  • Young people hanging around talking and laughing may not necessarily be anti-social

However, young people should not:

  • Trespass into your garden to retrieve their ball without your permission
  • Deliberately kick a ball against your wall, property (including plants), vehicle or pedestrians
  • Play football or other ball games on private land without the permission of the owner
  • Cause excessive nuisance by shouting or swearing
  • Intimidate or abuse other residents in response to concerns expressed
  • Drink alcohol (underage) or behave in a drunken manner
  • Run frequently over gardens or constantly cause damage to property by playing in the street with hard balls
  • Reasonably expect to play after darkness or beyond 11pm
  • Endanger themselves by playing in busy residential roads

When playing ball games might be classed as anti-social
While fun, ball games can become a source of disturbance for other people. Ball games deliberately and persistently played recklessly, leading to property damage, can be classed as anti-social behaviour which is something the council and Staffordshire Police takes very seriously and will be investigate.  Anti-social behaviour may also affect the tenure of a property.

If you know the parents, there is no harm in you having a quiet word with them and explaining what is happening. This will hopefully prevent any further problems. If you do not know who the parents are, or have some concerns about approaching them, you should contact Tamworth Borough Council. It is not advisable to approach the young people yourself, especially if you are upset or angry.

On receipt of a complaint, we will arrange initially an officer to visit the area and speak to you, the young people and their parents to ensure the children are made aware and are encouraged to play in an appropriate and safe area for the activities undertaken.

If this approach doesn’t work, please contact us again. If we own the land and it is not suitable for ball games or it is causing serious anti-social behaviour, we will work with the police to establish an action plan and respond with the powers we have available. However if we feel the area is suitable for ball games and there is no recorded anti-social behaviour, we will let you know.

If people are constantly going into your garden to retrieve their ball without your permission, this may be trespass.  You should contact your solicitor or local Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance and further advice.

When should I contact the police?

  • If people damage your property, such as break your window or make a dent in your car
  • If people deliberately kick a ball at you
  • If people swear directly at you or deliberately intimidate you
  • If young people appear to be drinking alcohol whilst playing

To assist the police, you will need to know the individual, or provide a good description of them, including their approximate age, height, clothing and distinctive marks. You will need to pass on when and where the incident occurred. Other witnesses are also helpful. You should contact Staffordshire Police on 101.

To discuss problems relating to ball games, phone us on 01827 709709. Or email:

Advice for young people and parents

You may be unaware you may be distressing other residents. Most of the complaints we receive is about where and when ball games are played.

Please consider the following before taking your ball games outside:

  • Respect other residents' right to a peaceful environment - ensure residents are not unduly disturbed
  • Where possible play in the park, nearest open space or multi-use play area – not adjacent to busy main roads
  • If you have to play in the street (cul-de-sac or quiet side road), use a soft ball to prevent damage to your neighbours' fences, gardens and cars
  • Games using hard balls such as cricket balls or golf balls, should be avoided in residential areas/open space or where there is a risk of causing damage to property or people
  • Always ask before retrieving your ball or items from other people's gardens.
  • Where possible play in close proximity to your own house/block of flats rather than someone else’s.
  • Always try to keep the ball down and do not let your game become excessively noisy or anti-social
  • Very loud foul or abusive language can cause distress to others and may be considered anti-social
  • Beware of your own safety and the safety of other road users
  • Small grassed areas outside homes may only be suitable for younger children
  • Respect the “No ball games” and “Considerate Use” signs
  • Compromise, talk and agree with your neighbours on a time and a place for your games
  • Teenagers /young adults - if you’re having a match head to the park
  • It is reasonable to expect that ball games are discontinued at dusk (unless played in a lit formal play area)

How can I join a sports club?

Why not take your energy and enthusiasm for ball games and join a sports club? For further help and advice contact the Community Leisure Team on 01827 709316.