Ipswich: Judge laments the cost of street drinkers

IPSWICH: A judge has highlighted the cost of dealing with the aftermath of drunken outbursts during the sentencing of a prolific drinker.

Judge David Cooper was sitting at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court yesterday when Paul Brierley appeared charged with two counts of disorderly behaviour.

Prosecutor Gareth Davies said Brierley, 50, had been drinking in The Black Horse, Ipswich, on November 11. “He held his fingers up and went ‘bang, bang’ at other drinkers.”

Brierley, who is living at The Chequers Hotel, in Ancaster Road, Ipswich, left the pub before police arrived.

However, Mr Davies said: “They found him in the middle of the road, obstructing traffic. He was arrested.

“Two days later a different police officer came across him in a distressed state on a bench not far from the court.

“He had a big gash on his head and the officer realised he was almost senseless on alcohol.”

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As the female officer tried to help him, Brierley became defensive and swore at her. He was again arrested.

The drinker, who has a string of previous convictions, had been subject to an Anti-social Behaviour Order in the past, but the court heard it was eventually dropped because it failed to curb his behaviour.

Duty solicitor Ian Duckworth explained the problems had escalated lately, as Brierley’s house had been destroyed by fire, forcing him to drink in public places.

Judge Cooper was told that Brierley, who claims benefits, has a list of outstanding fines and charges for similar offences.

The judge said: “It costs the country so much.

“No doubt the government will come up with some solution for people like Mr Brierley.”

However, he decided against jailing the habitual drinker in lieu of the fines and instead fined him �10 for the first offence and �20 for the second with �85 costs and a �15 victim surcharge.

“I will add it to his bill,” he said.

n Has alcohol affected you or your family? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk