Blackpool: From the courts 21-07-17

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court

Here is the latest round-up of some of the cases at Blackpool Magistrates Court.

Oliver Wheatcroft, 26, begging

A man with money and a home was a prolific begger.

Oliver Wheatcroft was paid more than £230 a week in state benefits and was said to have chosen his begging lifestyle.

His crimes were described as “not victimless” and it was said people with probably less money than him had given him money and food.

Wheatcroft, 26, of Elm House Hostel, Derby Road, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to six offences of begging.

He was sentenced to a four year Criminal Behaviour Order (CRIMBO) which bans him from begging in Blackpool and fined £100 with £100 costs plus £30 victims’ surcharge.

Defence lawyer, Steven Townley, said an offence of begging was only punishable with a fine but from now on Wheatcroft could be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment if he breaches the order.

Prosecuting for Blackpool Council, Mike Caveney, said Wheatcroft had repeatedly been seen begging in central Blackpool.

Mr Caveney said: “He is not homeless. He gets over £230 a week in housing benefits. He chooses his lifestyle to support other activities he spends money on.

“It is not a victimless crime. People with possibly less money than he has have given him money and food.

“Visitors are confronted with him in a dishevelled state. Business people do not like him in front of their premises.”

The prosecutor added that the manager of the resort’s Body Shop said Wheatcroft could be moved on several times, but he would just go round the block and come back 30 minutes later.

Mr Townley said his client had immediately pleaded guilty to the begging offences. The CRIMBO would prevent Wheatcroft from doing anything which might be seen as begging.

He told the court: “You were told he is not homeless and has plenty of money. That is misleading. He has a room in a hostel.

“He does not have a lot of money. He is on benefits and most of that money goes to the hostel. He is a drug addict and is getting treatment with methadone.”

The order bans Wheatcroft from:

• Asking people he does not know for money, food or other goods or approaching anyone for that purpose in any place to which the public have access in Blackpool Borough.

• Sitting or remaining outside any business or premises to which the public have access for the purpose of begging in Blackpool.

• Sitting, loitering or remaining on any highway or public thoroughfare or outside any business or premises to which the public have access, giving the impression he is waiting for any person to give him money, food or other goods. For the avoidance of doubt this includes and is not restricted to public toilets, train stations, doorways and bus shelters in Blackpool.

Here is Thursday’s round-up of cases at Blackpool Magistrates Court 20-07-17

Peter McGuinness-Wood, 38, breach of post prison supervision

A man has been sent back to prison after falling asleep on a train and failing to meet his probation officer on the day he was released from jail.

Peter McGuinness-Wood had been called into the probation service offices after he missed the appointment and ended up being threatening towards his probation officer.

McGuinness-Wood, 38, of Reads Avenue, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to breaching his post prison supervision.

He was sentenced to 14 days jail.

Presiding magistrate, Brian Horrocks, told him: “You had been drinking and actually made a threat to your probation officer. That is not on.”

The court was told that McGuinness-Wood was released from Preston Prison on July 13 after serving a sentence for breaching a restraining order.

Gillian O’Flaherty, prosecuting for the probation service, said the defendant had been told to attend the probation service offices in Blackpool that day but he did not go.

McGuinness-Wood later phoned his probation officer and said he had not kept the appointment as he had called asleep on the train and woken up in Oxenholme.

On July 18 the defendant had attended at the probation service offices. He appeared under the influence of alcohol and became argumentative.

A warrant for his arrest for breaching his post prison sentence had been issued and the police arrived.

McGuinness-Wood said to his probation officer: “One day you and me will bump into each other in the street.” And he lunged at the officer as he was led out.

Stephen Duffy, defending, said after being released from jail his client had fallen asleep on the train and missed his appointment with his probation officer.

His probation officer then told him to go to the probation service offices on July 18.

McGuinness-Wood got upset because he felt his probation officer should not be calling the police to tell them he was there.

Mr Duffy added: “His perception of a probation officer was an old-fashioned one of a court appointed friend.

“He felt he had been hoodwinked into attending the probation service offices and was not told a warrant had been issued to arrest him. He got upset as he felt he should have been told beforehand.”

Stephen Allen, 37, possessing cocaine with intent to supply

A man accused of having half-a-million pounds of cocaine concealed in a secret compartment in the car he was driving as he headed towards Blackpool has made his first appearance at court.

Stephen Allen is said to have been stopped on the M55 and a painstaking investigation into the vehicle by police revealed a void concealed behind the driver’s seat which contained almost two kilograms of cocaine which was 81 percent pure.

Allen, 37, of Warrington Road, Prescot, Merseyside, is charged with possessing cocaine with intent to supply the drug on February 17 this year.

He was arrested at Manchester Airport on Tuesday after flying into the country from Barcelona.

Prosecutor, Sarah Perkins, asked for the case to be heard at crown court and opposed bail.

Allen was remanded in custody to appear at Preston Crown Court on August 16.

Christopher Rogers, 26, assault

A man accused of punching his 23-weeks pregnant girlfriend and spraying her with a fire extinguisher has made his first appearance at court.

Christopher Rogers, 26, of Broughton Avenue, Layton, pleaded not guilty to assault and causing £70 worth of damage to his partner’s hair straighteners, laundry maiden and a light fitting.

Rogers was bailed to October 6 for tria.

He must not contact the complainant or go within 50 metres of an address on the resort’s Talbot Road as conditions of his bail.