Police find '˜banned' beggar on streets again

Burnley Magistrates Court.Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.
A beggar banned from sitting on the ground was found doing just that, with a hat in front of him, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told how Stephen Starkie (47) was homeless and had no money. But when police asked him if there was anything they could do to help, he claimed it was pointless as it was like banging his head on a brick wall.

Starkie, of no fixed address, but care of Devonshire Road, Burnley, admitted begging in public on Keirby Walk, in the town, on April 26th. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and was told to pay a £20 victim surcharge.

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Mr Andrew Robinson (prosecuting) told the court Starkie was sitting with a hat in front of him with change in it.

He continued: “An officer said there had been complaints from the public in respect of begging in the town centre in general. The officer pointed out to the defendant he had a community protection notice preventing him from sitting on the ground.”

John Rusius (defending) said until about eight months ago, the defendant had lived at a property, but it was then sold by the owner and he was made homeless. He had been doing his best to get a home, but had been unable to do so and because of that he couldn’t get benefits.

The solicitor continued: “He felt it was preferable to eat rather than not to eat.” Mr Rusius added the defendant was now on benefits. He added: “All he can say is he’s sorry he’s been put in that situation. He was not getting as much help as he anticipated.”

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