May 21 2013 Latest news:
Monday, December 31, 2012
A BEGGAR who claimed not to know begging was illegal is paying the price today after a court fined him nearly seven times the amount he had scrounged.
Jason Wright, of Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipswich, was alleged to have made £8 in 30 minutes when asking for handouts outside Sainsbury’s in the town’s Upper Brook Street.
The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to begging in a public place when he appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates Court in Ipswich.
Prosecutor Robert Sadd told the court Wright had been seen asking people for money during the afternoon of December 7.
Police became aware of what he was doing, and when an officer in plain clothes approached him, Wright asked for money.
Mr Sadd said Wright had £8 on him, which he had made in half-an-hour.
The court was told Wright had previous convictions for possession of cocaine and cannabis, for which he was fined £125 in January 2011.
He was also fined for possession of cannabis when he came before East Hertfordshire magistrates court on a previous occasion.
Representing himself, Wright told Ipswich magistrates, he was unaware begging was against the law.
He said: “I didn’t realise it’s an offence.”
Wright also claimed not all of the £8 that was found on him came from people who had given him money.
He was fined £35 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20.