Street drinker denies breaching ASBO

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

A Colchester man who has breached an anti-social behaviour order nearly 70 times claimed he was looking after a can of lager for a friend when he was arrested in a street drinking hotspot, a court heard.

Neville Dickinson was made the subject of the ASBO by Chelmsford Crown Court in September 2005 which banned him from being drunk in a public place, begging, using abusive language in a public place, having an open container of alcohol and sitting in doorways.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that in the last 14 years Dickinson had breached the order a total of 69 times for being drunk in a public place, for being abusive in a public place and for having an open bottle or can of alcohol.

Dickinson, 67, who has denied two offences of breaching an ASBO, was arrested at St Botolph's Priory in Colchester late in the morning on August 2.

Pc Darin Patrick told the court the Priory grounds were a hotspot for street drinkers and the area was regularly patrolled by a community police team.

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The court heard Dickinson was with a group of people in the ruins and was allegedly seen drinking from a can, which he tried to hide behind him when police arrived.

Dickinson had been swearing, was verbally aggressive and refused to stand when asked by a police officer.

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When the officer looked behind Dickinson he found an open light blue can which he believed contained lager.

Following his arrest Dickinson, of Ayloffe Road, Colchester, said he had been looking after it for a friend while he went to a shop.

Sarah Vine, for Patrick, said that her client had been given prison sentences totalling 20 years for his breaches of the ASBO in the last 15 years and his most recent jail term was in November 2016 when he received an 18 week sentence.

The court heard that Dickinson, who did not give evidence, weighs under seven stone, has a chronic alcohol problem and had suffered two bleeds on the brain.

The trial continues.

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