Fined for refusing to stop drinking on Lancaster's streets

An order prevents drinking alcohol in Market Square, Lancaster
An order prevents drinking alcohol in Market Square, Lancaster
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A man has been fined after being caught boozing in Lancaster city centre.

Magistrates heard Stephen Williams, 35, of no fixed address, breached a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in April 2019 designed to prevent anti-social behaviour.

The PSPO was introduced in 2016 to stop people drinking alcohol on the streets and, if necessary, allow police to confiscate it. It also contains provisions to curb anti-social behaviour and covers the city centre and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The court was told two PCSOs were on patrol when they were alerted to a group of people who were gathered on Market Square in the city centre.

Williams was openly drinking alcohol and asked to stop and hand over his drink, however, he refused and became argumentative and aggressive.

Despite being warned that he was committing an offence by drinking alcohol in breach of the PSPO, he continued to do so.

He was subsequently summonsed to court for breaching the PSPO, having failed to surrender the alcohol.

Williams did not attend court and was fined £220, with a victim surcharge of £30 and £85 costs.

Coun Alistair Sinclair, Cabinet member with responsibility for communities and social justice, said: “Our town centres should be places where all members of our community feel welcome and safe.

“The council has received numerous complaints about the actions of a small, but persistent, group of individuals because of their anti-social behaviour in Lancaster City Centre.

“This group is regularly visited by us and offered help in relation to substance dependency, housing and other issues but unfortunately, despite our best efforts, their behaviour has continued to cause problems for the public, visitors and people who work in the city centre.

“In such circumstances, the council will, whilst continuing to offer assistance to vulnerable people, take action through the courts to support safety and wellbeing in the wider community.”