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Passer-by's complaint sees beggar back in court

Colin Davey at one of his regular pitches on Weaver's Bridge in Canterbury. Picture: GERRY WARREN
Colin Davey at one of his regular pitches on Weaver's Bridge in Canterbury. Picture: GERRY WARREN

A BEGGAR has been warned by magistrates he can expect an anti-social behaviour order if he continues to flout the law.

Colin Davey, 30, of Whitstable Road, Canterbury, was arrested after a complaint from a passer-by that he had been intimidated by requests for cash. Davey pleaded guilty and was fined £100 plus £43 court costs.

It was Davey’s second court appearance in two weeks for begging but once again a police request to impose an ASBO was refused.

City magistrates heard that Davey had remained seated on cardboard at the Weavers bridge in St Peter’s Street while begging. Police officers confiscated £4.86 in change from him.

Davey had been arrested and fined for begging two weeks earlier. That followed a string of theft charges, including perfume from Debenhams and lager from Threshers in October and November last year.

Chairman of the bench, Valerie Hale, told Davey: “You are flagrantly flouting the law. There are only so many times this court can refuse a request for an ASBO.”

Ian Bond, defending, said that the punishment was a disproportionate one and questioned police methods as unfair.

He said: “The sentence which says that the witness was intimidated comes at the end of his statement. It seems to have been a clear attempt by the Crown to push for an ASBO.”

He added that sitting on cardboard and asking for money was not an anti-social crime by nature and told magistrates that Davey now held a Big Issue licence to sell the magazine.

KENT County Council confirmed this week it could put up signs to help combat begging in city subways.

But it would have to be requested by police and the city council.

A spokesman for KCC said: “If the subway was a highway structure then as the responsible authority we could put up signs banning begging.

“It would have to be done in conjunction with the police and city council, though, as a result of their concerns.”

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