KIDS have been banned from playing football by "absurd" health and safety council jobsworths.
Children were been told they were no longer allowed to have school football kickabouts with leather balls.
Sefton Council in Merseyside has been condemned for imposing the temporary diktat which has now been lifted.
They used their legal powers to introduce a community protection notice, saying there had been "a large number of complaints raised by neighbours".
The notice barred pupils from using "heavy leather footballs", demanding they instead only play with "light flyway or foam footballs".
The Manifesto Club, a group which campaigns against what it calls "the hyper-regulation of public spaces", said too many authorities were applying "unnecessary" CPNs.
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They found 26,000 CPNs and community protection warnings were issued in England last year, up from 14,000 in 2014-2015, according to the Telegraph.
More than 200 local authorities issued the orders last year, including notices from 35 different councils for messy or overgrown gardens.
Among other CPNs there were 10 for feeding birds as well as 14 for barking dogs, 23 for begging and 16 covering neighbour disputes.
Four local authorities introduced orders for TV volume, seven for shouting and swearing and three for loitering, according to council responses to the campaign group's Freedom Of Information requests.
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Mendip District Council in Somerset imposed one in 2020/21 for making "chalk markings" alleged to have caused "alarm and distress".
And the local authorities issuing the most were Durham, with 819, and Nottingham serving 543 in the most recent 12 months.
Breaching a CPN is a criminal offence and can be punished with a fine of up to £2,500.
Manifesto Club director Josie Appleton said: "Officials appear to have created a blank cheque power and then washed their hands of it."
She called for a government study on whether CPNs are "appropriately-used or are effective" in the absence of official research.
She added: "The Home Office needs to fill this gap, and fast, before more innocent people are slapped with absurd legal orders."
Sefton Council said the leather football ban was only in place for three months.
A spokesman said: "During this time Sefton Council worked closely with the school to implement a number of provisions to combat issues of noise and disruption, which have been successful."
But their was an online backlash against the notice being issued in the first place following complaints from neighbours.
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One person posted on X, formerly Twitter: This is almost like people buying a new house next door to a pub and then complaining that their kids are being woken up at 11pm every Friday night."
Another wrote: "Woke councils are still thinking of dumb rules and regulations."
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