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"80p man" banned from begging

Worcester Editorial 26th Feb, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A PROLIFIC city beggar nicknamed the “80p man” has been banned from asking people from money.

A Criminal Anti Social Behaviour Order was granted by Worcester magistrates last Friday (February 21) against Mark Collins, who regularly claimed his car had broken down and asked people for money so that he could phone for assistance – despite not actually having a car.

The court was told the 33-year-old loitered on car parks and usually targeted women and some victims were approached more than once.

Collins, of Crown Close, Lower Broadheath, admitted one charge of fraud and was fined £65, with a £20 victim surcharge and £55 costs.

PC Kate Lane of the Worcester city centre Safer Neighbourhood Team said that by asking for such a small amount of money Collins was often successful, and many incidents may not have been reported.

While he was usually polite, some victims felt harassed and gave him the money simply to get rid of him.

A group of office workers in particular felt very distressed and frightened of being attacked.

PC Lane said: “We are confident that there have been many victims of this man. He even approached police officers and members of police staff on their way to work.

“While the amount of money asked for was small, usually 80p or £1, Collins was very persistent and made people feel uncomfortable. They often handed over the money, and then realised they had fallen victim to a fraudster.

“Collins ignored warning letters from the police, and therefore we were left with no choice other than to apply for a CRASBO.”

The CRASBO lasts for two years and prevents Collins from approaching people in a public place and ask them for money, begging or loitering in any place for the purpose of begging and/or asking people for money.

He is also banned from entering the Asda multi storey car park in Silver Street, the NCP multi storey car park in Cathedral Plaza, Shrub Hill retail park, Tesco Express and its garage forecourt in London Road, Sainsbury’s and its car park in Malvern Road, Elgar Retail Park, the Aldi car park in Pheasant Street, Tesco in Mill Wood Drive, and Britannia Square, Worcester.

If he breaches it, he faces up to five years in prison.

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