Burnley beggar lived on £15 a week

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A beggar banned from asking for cash by a criminal behaviour order was trying to live on just £15 a week, a court heard.

Terry Richards, 35, is not allowed to approach people he doesn’t know and ask for money in Burnley town centre, after magistrates gave him the two year order on March 17. But, he struck again and was spotted by police - he is said to be well-known to every single officer in the town. He was found with £25.21 in his pocket and admitted some of it came from begging.

Burnley Magistrates Court was told Richards, of Castle Street, Burnley, was trying to exist on £15 a week and was living in a house without electricity. He mainly begged for food and relied on food banks three days a week.

Richards is also banned from Charter Walk in Burnley centre under an order imposed by Burnley Council and has been complying with that.

Richards, who has drug issues, but is getting help, admitted breaching the criminal behaviour order on April 25 and his case was adjourned until May 29, for a pre- sentence report. A deputy district judge told the defendant he wanted to find a way of dealing with him which didn’t involve sending him to prison.

Prosecutor Philip Potter told the hearing a police officer was told the defendant had been given money by a woman. He watched CCTV and saw people approach the defendant. Communication took place and they then handed something over. He was arrested.

Police had initially wanted to ban Richards from “sitting on the floor” in Burnley town centre - but his lawyer Sara Lyle had earlier told justices it would be a breach of his human rights. Miss Lyle had told the hearing he wasn’t an aggressive beggar. She had told the court “He simply sits on the pavement, usually not even with a cup or hat. He just sits there.”

Miss Lyle told the latest hearing Richards was getting £30 a fortnight in benefits because he had not been for medical appointments.

She said the defendant was going to Inspire, the drug treatment service. He begged mostly for food. She continued “He relies on food parcels on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s just an impossible situation.”