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.

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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.

14 comments

  • I didn't know begging was illegal either... I know begging can be a problem in the town, but seems a bit unfair of the policeman to set him up like this. And if the guy has got no money how's he going to pay the fine plus the "victim surcharge" ?

    Report this comment

    bettycoltrane

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • Previous convictions for drugs says it all - keep him off our streets and preferably out of our town. That indeed would be taxpayers money well spent.

    Report this comment

    Supernova6

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • This exposes the futility of the court system - how can he afford to pay the fine if he was begging for £8? Of course he should be punished if he has broken the law but surely this just means he will have to beg to get the money to pay the fine?

    Report this comment

    Citizen

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • What a waste of police and taxpayers money,I have seen some people asking for money and they are not as intrusive as some selling the big issue taht jump in front and plea money from me,

    Report this comment

    this is what we pay tax for

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • what and who is the victim surcharge for? if it is for the officer arresting him surely he was being paid (his job) to arrest him? just another phoney name for getting money of the poor ... jokes

    Report this comment

    observerofmany

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • This was an utter waste of police time & the courts time , I'm sure they have more important things to attend to ,, our town is full of yobbos any case , so we are used to these kind of people now ,, ( could the Evening star tell us who actually get this Victim surcharge ), The Taxman , no doubt

    Report this comment

    MIGUEL100

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • This bloke is no more than a nuisance.What a total waste of Police time, Court time etc. I dare say the copper went home proud he had caught a major villan. Sort your selves out police service. There are far more important things to do. No wonder the goverment are cutting back on the olice if this is how they waste their time.

    Report this comment

    shane cartwright

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

  • I understand that people like this need to be encouraged to remain off our streets but to fine them money that caring and generous passersby have given him is mindless. No English bred person begs unless they are desperate and to fine him money that others have given him is hardly punishment.It would make more sense to help him with his desperation.

    Report this comment

    Big Spot

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • Do the police and courts really have nothing better to do that to pursue cases like this?

    Report this comment

    Neil Bateman

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • There's people begging in Ipswich ALL the time. I get asked for money on a weekly basis and the police never normally bother to do anything about it. Therefore I assumed it was legal. Typical police, they only enforce the law when it suits them.

    Report this comment

    RC

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • Do the police and courts really have nothing better to do that to pursue cases like this?

    Report this comment

    Neil Bateman

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • This law and its implementation reflects very badly on our society but I've no doubt that Daily Mail readers and their increasingly excessive followers will love this injustice!

    Report this comment

    John Shirley

    Monday, December 31, 2012

  • Ipswich as we all know has a major problem with homeless people and street drinkers but this guy is neither, The trouble is people with criminal histories go unchecked with no supervision unless they have served over 12 months in prison, with the government cut backs many good charities such as The St Giles Trust have been forced to close in the Town leave rehabilitation in the community a thing of the past.

    Report this comment

    jollygiant

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

  • This guy has a home address so it makes you wonder how much he really needed the money. Perhaps he was just trying his luck. In Felixstowe there is often a "homeless" guy and his dog begging outside Tesco and yet he vanishes at night time. I often would like to help homeless people out with a donation but what stops me is wondering if they are actually homeless or if they're trying to scam you. The Big Issue lady that sells outside M&S in Felixstowe gets picked up by a Mercedes in the evening so it really makes you question how much help these people really need. It's such a shame because it stops us helping people who are really in need of our help.

    Report this comment

    Pepperpotty

    Monday, December 31, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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