Day in cell for man who broke rarely used law by soiling church floor

Carl Horth when he was arrested for begging in Norwich this year Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Carl Horth when he was arrested for begging in Norwich this year Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

A man banned from an entire city centre for persistent begging has appeared in court for defecating on the floor of an Ipswich church.

CCTV caught Carl Horth in the act of soiling the floor of Saint Mary at the Elms church.

The 31-year-old had already been recorded stealing an altar cloth from the same church.

With a record of 100 convictions for 214 offences, Horth appeared in custody before magistrates in Ipswich on Thursday.

After providing his parents’ Lowestoft address to the court, he admitted theft and engaging in indecent behaviour in a church, under the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act 1860.

Horth also admitted refusing to provide a sample to police for class A drug testing.

While he committed the offences, he was subject to the conditions of a conditional discharge imposed at Norwich Magistrates’ Court.

Most Read

He also breached the conditions of post-sentence supervision after a period of imprisonment for two counts of criminal damage, and for breaching an ASBO and a Community Protection Notice by persistently begging in Norwich city centre – from which he was then banned altogether.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said churchwarden Hugh Pierce asked Horth to leave the building before locking up on a previous occasion.

After noticing an altar cover missing on July 17, he reviewed CCTV and watched Horth wrap the cloth around himself before leaving the building.

After then finding faeces on the floor, Mr Pierce played back CCTV to observe Horth committing the offence on August 29.

Horth was located and arrested on Wednesday morning, when he refused to provide a drug sample.

Helen Korfanty, mitigating, said Horth experienced considerable anxiety in custody.

“He can’t explain why he behaved in this way, but he readily accepts he was wrong,” she added.

“The altar cloth was to keep warm, but there is no explanation for him going to the toilet there.

“I don’t know if anyone has ever asked for psychiatric reports, but this is a man with underlying mental health issues that need to be addressed, instead of this repeated cycle of custody.”

The probation service said Horth had a long history of non-compliance and recommended magistrates impose another period of custody.

The bench fined him £250 but deemed the sentence served by his day spent in custody.