A 12-year-old girl who felt intimidated into handing over the last of her pocket money to a beggar will be paid compensation.
Homeless Isa Richardson approached the child, who cannot be named, in Week Street, Maidstone, and told her she needed money because her car had broken down.
Debbie Jones, prosecuting, told magistrates that Richardson, who has already been convicted of similar offences twice this year, was arrested on March 19, after being spotted by CCTV operators approaching members of the public and asking for cash.
In a statement to police, the school girl said she felt intimidated by Richardson and handed over all the money she had, which totalled 15p.
The 46-year-old, who is well known in the town centre, pleaded guilty to the offence of begging at a magistrates’ court hearing last Thursday.
The court heard how unemployed Richardson was in such a bad financial situation that she felt her only options were to beg or shoplift and that she deeply regretted upsetting the youngster.
Since the incident, Richardson, who owes the courts £375 in outstanding fines and costs, has started receiving benefits and is looking for a job, meaning that she is in a position to start paying off the debt.
Magistrates decided that due to the stress caused to the young girl, Richardson should pay her £20 in compensation.
She was also handed a 12-month conditional discharge and will have to pay a £15 victim surcharge.
A spokesman for Maidstone Borough Council said: “We cannot comment on specific cases.
“Begging is illegal and anyone who feels intimidated should call the police on 101 or speak to a Police Community Support Officer.”
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