July 30 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
A beggar with mental health issues and no benefits has been jailed again after asking an off-duty police officer for money the day after being released from prison.
Bevan Ash, who has 220 convictions to his name, was caught begging in Westgate Street, Ipswich, in breach of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) he was given on March 7. Ash admitted the charge when he appeared before the town’s magistrates.
He has now breached his current Asbo on at least four occasions.
Ash, of St Helen’s Street, Ipswich, was released from jail on Wednesday last week after a previous breach, only to be caught begging again the following day.
The 44-year-old’s solicitor Lucy Osborn said each time Ash is imprisoned his benefit payments cease. It then takes a week for them to begin again once he comes out of jail.
She said: “Since the order was imposed he has been locked into a cycle of petty offending and short custodial sentences.
“Each time he is released his benefits have been stopped and he must re-apply. Therefore he has no money because he has got to re-apply. He’s got accommodation, but has no lighting or heating because he’s got no money.
“He’s literally without any money at all.
“It is without doubt that Mr Ash is a nuisance, but I would suggest it is no more than that.”
The court was told Ash is not rude, threatening or coercive when he begs for money.
Miss Osborn added: “He apologises for his behaviour and knows he shouldn’t do it, but feels until he has income of his own he simply has no option.”
Magistrates were told Ash has a long-history of mental health problems and is schizophrenic. He also has a background of alcohol and drug misuse.
Ash had lived a majority of his life in Colchester with his mother, until he was banned from the estate where they lived.
He then moved to Ipswich and can not return to see his mother who is in ill-health due to an injunction barring him from the estate.
Previously Colette Harper had told the court Ash was seen begging outside Clark’s shoe shop in Westgate Street between 1.30pm and 1.50pm last Wednesday.
He asked a police officer in plain clothes if he could spare some change and also tried to scrounge money from nine members of the public.
Ash already has eight convictions this year.
His Asbo bars him from begging or having an unsealed container of alcohol in the town centre.
The court was also told he has a total of 13 previous breaches of an Asbo since 2010.
Magistrates jailed Ash for 40 days along with a day detention in lieu of a previous fine of £125.
He was also warned he could be sent to crown court for sentencing if he breaches his Asbo again.