Criminal ASBO imposed on Prom beggar

A second beggar has been issued with a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order by Blackpool Council, below, Nicholas Stewart and Coun Gillian Campbell
A second beggar has been issued with a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order by Blackpool Council, below, Nicholas Stewart and Coun Gillian Campbell

A second man has been given a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order as part of a campaign to reduce begging in Blackpool town centre.

Stephen Hodson, 41, of Bethedsa Road, was found guilty of four offences under the Vagrancy Act after being repeatedly caught by council and police officers on Abingdon Street and on the Promenade.

He was fined £55 and ordered to pay £100 court costs as well as being issued with a CRASBO.

The CRASBO, which lasts three years, bans him from sitting on the ground and begging in prescribed areas of Blackpool town centre including park benches and public seating.

It also bans him from loitering near cash machines with the intention of begging.

If he fails to comply with the order, it could lead to further penalties including a prison sentence and larger fines.

The ban comes a week after magistrates imposed a CRASBO on 35-year-old Nicholas Stewart banning him from selling anything on the streets of Blackpool apart from the Big Issue magazine.

The two-year CRASBO was imposed after Stewart was convicted of selling bottles of spirits to tourists which contained urine and other bodily waste.

He is also banned from sitting outside any premises in the borough and asking for money or alms.

Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for public safety and enforcement, said: “Begging is a problem that is persistently reported as a concern both by businesses in the town centre and local residents.

“As we promised we are taking court action to try to tackle the problem and secure convictions.

“What we really need now is the court to support us in creating a greater deterrent by imposing stronger sentences.

“Applying for measures like CRASBOs can assist us in doing that and we hope, if this order is breached, a suitable penalty will be imposed to put a stop to this.”

Before a CRASBO is applied for, the council says it offers help and support to problem cases, referring them to other services which may be able to help with drug or alcohol problems.