Custody wipes out beggar’s court fines

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian,, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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A man accused of begging in the streets of Spalding spent 20 hours in police custody until he appeared before magistrates.

James Waxman (33), who lives in a caravan in Long Sutton, was fined £20 on each offence when he admitted five counts of begging or gathering alms in a public place and a public order offence when he swore at a PCSO with members of the public present.

Spalding magistrates decided on Thursday that none of the fines was payable because of his time served in custody. None of the offences carries a prison term.

The begging offences were brought under the Vagrancy Act of 1824 and Criminal Justice Act of 1982.

Paul Wood, prosecuting, said Waxman was in Market Place, Spalding, on November 26 when a member of the public told police he was outside W H Smith asking passers-by if they had any change.

Police were called to the town’s Aldi store in Winsover Road on November 29 when Waxman had asked a member of staff for money – and officers returned to the store on December 8 when customers felt “intimidated” by Waxman’s begging.

Mr Wood said Waxman was again found begging in Holbeach Road on December 4.

On December 10, a PCSO approached Waxman in The Crescent, but Waxman swore at the officer with members of the public present.

He said Waxman had a number of similar convictions “as well as a record of general criminality”.

Solicitor Mike Alexander, mitigating, said Waxman is “mainly homeless”, although he has a caravan, and receives no benefits.

He said Waxman had “24 or so” breaches of an anti-social behaviour order and had been in and out of prison as a result, mainly for a day.

Mr Alexander said Waxman was arrested last Tuesday and spent virtually 20 hours in police custody before being produced at Grantham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, when the cases were adjourned to Spalding on Thursday.