Homeless alcoholic with 182 offences on record handed rehab ‘lifeline’

Christopher Banks, of no fixed address, has been given a 12-month community order Picture: SUFFOLK

Christopher Banks, of no fixed address, has been given a 12-month community order Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: SUFFOLK POLICE

A homeless man with a criminal record of almost 200 offences has been offered a ‘lifeline’ despite repeatedly ignoring court orders designed to curb his behaviour.

Christopher Banks waited nine days to breach a criminal behaviour order prohibiting him from entering shops, drinking in public or congregating in a group.

The 58-year-old was slapped with a two-year ban from any store within a mapped area of Bury St Edmunds on August 8.

The order also prevented him from drinking alcohol in public or hanging around with three or more people in a manner likely to cause distress. But he was arrested last Saturday for entering Marks & Spencer and drinking from a bottle of wine in the company of others.

Banks had accumulated 76 convictions for 182 offences before appearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court this week.

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Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said Banks was jailed for 10 weeks in February for being aggressive towards an elderly man in Market Hill, Sudbury - breaching a suspended sentence and a community protection notice issued earlier that month.

At the time, Pc Ryan Butters, of Sudbury safer neighbourhood team, said Banks had been offered specialist support but refused to engage with any services.

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"His actions and unreasonable behaviour have been prolific in Sudbury and have affected local businesses, staff and members of the public," said Pc Butters, who had hoped Banks' imprisonment would reassure the community that action would be taken against persistent antisocial behaviour.

Solicitor Natasha Nair said Banks had been making significant progress but was "back to square one" after being released from serving a series of short prison sentences with no money, no support and nowhere to go.

She said Banks had recently been engaging with substance misuse services about entering residential rehabilitation.

"He has significant physical and mental health issues, for which he is now taking medication, but is still drinking," added Miss Nair, who described him as a vulnerable individual, entrenched in street drinking culture.

Magistrates said they were offering Banks a lifeline by handing him a 12-month community order, with a nine-month alcohol treatment programme and 10 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

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