A TROUBLED teenager responsible for a reign of fear in a city became one of the first girls in the country to be given an anti-social behaviour order yesterday.

Marianne Cullerton, 17, has run up 99 convictions since 1999, including 42 in 123 days from last November.

Her criminal antics in and around Durham City were so prolific that beat officers adjusted their shift times to cope with her almost constant offending.

Following a two-day hearing, Peterlee magistrates yesterday imposed the order, after hearing from witnesses who had been victims of her often violent and abusive behaviour.

During her reign of terror she assaulted shop staff, beat up members of the public, spat at and abused police officers, intimidated Dryburn Hospital nurses and even stalked sales assistants on their way home.

Police applied for the order that bans her from drinking alcohol in the city, entering 18 city centre shops where she is barred, using threatening or intimidating behaviour or inciting others.

If Cullerton, of Catchgate, near Stanley, breaches any part of the order she could face a lengthy jail term.

Suzanne Hanson, defending, said her client's recent progress with the Youth Offending Team would go to waste if she was, as expected, imprisoned after an almost inevitable relapse.

She said: "She accepts her behaviour is anti-social, but it is mainly nuisance offending. It is often to do with alcohol. In fact she refers to alcohol as her medicine."

Miss Hanson told of Cullerton's unhappy childhood which including moving from her natural parents to a foster home at two-months old.

Since she was 15 she has travelled to the city by bus, got drunk or taken drugs, then gone on abusive wrecking sprees. Miss Hanson said: "It's very tragic for a 17-year-old girl to have nothing else, or no one else, in her life other than hanging around Durham bus station for somebody she knows.

"This order will not help her curb her offending. She needs help dealing with more deep rooted personal problems."

After the hearing, Chief Inspector James McAloon said he was "hopeful" Cullerton would not breach the order.

He added: "It means we can go back to the victims of her behaviour and offer them some reassurance.

"This girl is without question the most persistent female offender that myself or my colleagues have ever dealt with."