15th Nov, 2019

Owner returned to homeless man sleeping on his barge

Worcester Editorial 1st Oct, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A HOMELESS man caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage by breaking in and sleeping on a boat moored on Worcester canal, a court has heard.

The canal boat had been left locked and secured for about ten days when the owner returned about 4pm on September 11 to find Paul Byng, of the YMCA in Henwick Road, on board.

Last Friday (September 26) Worcester Magistrates Court heard how the 50-year-old apologised for the offence immediately and said he had been staying there with a friend.

Lesley Ashton, prosecuting, told how a number of belongings had been piled up in the boat as if they were about to be stolen, along with damage to the back window, front door and handle, four window slats, the engine and the bedding.

A DVD player, fishing rods and gear and a car stereo fascia were also stolen.

The court was also told how Byng had been out drinking alcohol with two other people by the racecourse and then walked the canal way to Texaco to get more drink but came across the boat on the way so broke in.

Defending solicitor Sam Lamsdale said: “He has no previous convictions for thefts or burglaries, this is the first offence of this kind and he tells me it’s not something he would normally have done as he was under the influence of alcohol at the time.

“They decided to go and buy more alcohol, they saw the boat and decided to get on it and see if there was anything worth stealing to sell and buy more alcohol.

“In the last 20 months it’s fair to say his life has completely imploded, he’s lost his relationship, his job and his home.”

Byng was handed a 12-month community order with supervision, ordered to complete six months of the alcohol treatment requirement and handed 80 hours of unpaid work.

He also had to pay £100 compensation and a victim surcharge of £60.

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