Notorious beggar’s latest day in court

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A man with a history of demanding money and food from passers-by has admitted repeatedly breaching a criminal behaviour order banning him begging.

Colin Clapp, 30, of Charles Street, Blackpool, was made the subject of a two year criminal behaviour order placed on him after a burglary conviction last year.

It excludes him from Blackpool town centre and orders him not to beg.

Preston Crown Court heard the order had been made in his absence at magistrates court.After serving a short time on remand for the burglary he was released in November on a suspended sentence, but was seen the day after his release, and again the following day, begging in the exclusion zone on the Promenade and The Strand.

On January 8 Clapp admitted the two breaches but Blackpool magistrates decided to defer his sentence after he said he had not been aware of the order when he was released from prison.

Clapp was then given a map of the exclusion zone but on January 17 and 19 he was seen in the no go area again, putting him in breach of a suspended sentence order, Judge Recorder Atherton was told.

Clapp played with his winter gloves in the dock as Daniel Harman, defending, said he had already served 82 days in custody.

Imposing a 28 day jail term, suspended for six months, the judge said he had to consider if activating his suspended jail term was unjust.

He said: “On release I’m told that you were homeless and effectively penniless and you apparently knew nothing about the order.

“These offences therefore were committed a few days after the suspended sentence had been passed and you were thereby in breach.

“There’s no suggestion in course of your presence in the exclusion zone there was any intimidating behaviour.

“Through the period from September until this week I’m told you had no income and that you received state benefits for the first time of £72.

“When you’ve not been in custody you have been homeless.”

However, yesterday Clapp admitted breaching the criminal behaviour order when he appeared before Blackpool Magistrates.

He was bailed until he appears at Preston Crown Court on March 9 in connection with the suspended jail sentences and the order breach.

A previous court case before the order was imposed heard Clapp had regularly been seen asking for money, food and cigarettes in Blackpool town centre and had been spotted following elderly women making demands for cash and food.