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Man sent to prison for breaching ASBO

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

A MAN has been sent to prison for six weeks for breaching an Asbo by begging.

At a earlier court hearing in Exeter Joseph Lyons, 49, of 13 Sunflower Road, Barnstaple, pleaded guilty and was remanded in custody for sentencing.

David Barnes, for the prosecution, said two police officers were in Barnstaple High Street when they came across the defendant. He was heard to ask two separate women passers-by if they had any spare change.

One of the officers was aware of the Asbo condition prohibiting him from begging in a public place.

Tony Dart, for the defence, said his client had struggled with mental health issues.

Previously, he had been living in a residential care home in Bideford for three years.

He liked the company of people but in his current accommodation, the other rooms were often unoccupied, so he would go out.

Mr Dart said his client did not drink or do drugs but he liked a smoke.

But as his benefit had been stopped he was getting no money for himself.

So he asked a few people if they could spare a few pennies so he could feed himself. He said his client could not comply with the order and could not cope in the community.

He was hoping to get a place back at the residential home in which he was living before.

Mr Dart said: "He is quite a mild mannered individual and it is really sad that he should be left to his own devices because he cannot cope."

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