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Stop dressing up as firefighters and paramedics court tells pair; Pair were obsessed with wearing uniform EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: By BEN ROSSINGTON Crime Reporter

TWO uniform-obsessed men were today banned from dressing up as firefighters, police officers and paramedics.

Peter Higham and Barry McGuinness plagued Merseyside's emergency services by wearing official clothing to hand out fire safety advice and even give first aid.

On one occasion, they dressed as Arriva staff and stole a bus.

The two men, both 26, were this week given interim anti-social behaviour orders (asbos) and slammed for putting the public in danger.

Over the past nine years, Higham, of Rollo Street, Kirkdale, and McGuinness, of St Domingo Vale, Everton:

Stole an Arriva bus from a bus station and drove around the city centre, accepting fares from passengers who got on the bus believing it to be genuine.

Claimed to be fire officers and made fire safety checks on licensed premises.

Threatened to close premises on fire safety grounds when licensees refused them entry.

Visited 15 fire stations in Merseyside claiming to be fire officers, saying they were going to New York to visit firefighters involved in the Twin Towers disaster and asking for uniform to swap with Americans.

When police raided one of their homes, they found more than 60 items of clothing from Merseyside fire and rescue service, police, ambulance service and Arriva.

North Liverpool Community Justice Centre this week heard how both men had on various occasions dressed up as members of the fire brigade to get into fire stations and steal firefighter gear.

They then wore the uniform, claiming to be members of the emergency services.

Members of the public fell for their stories.

Their behaviour prompted complaints to Merseyside fire service about "staff" using threatening, intimidating and abusive behaviour.

Both men appeared before Judge Richard Clancy to receive interim asbos banning them from possessing any part of any uniform, including fire service, police, ambulance, paramedics or any other medically trained professionals, or from having equipment associated with the services.

ben.rossington@liverpool.com

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CON: What the pair might have looked like dressed as paramedics; UNIFORM: The two men have been banned from dressing up as firefighters
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2008
Words:349
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