Ipswich: Woman who was one of four people in court accused of begging in Ipswich town centre is jailed after admitting theft and scrounging money

Prolific offender Suzanne Brown who was jailed for theft and other offences

Prolific offender Suzanne Brown who was jailed for theft and other offences - Credit: Archant

Three men and a woman have appeared in court as part of an ongoing police purge on begging in Ipswich town centre.

Prolific offender Suzanne Brown, of Ancaster Road, Ipswich, has been jailed for a total of 18 weeks after admitting three theft charges, begging, obstructing a police officer, and failure to answer bail.

South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard the 32-year-old was caught scrounging money in Crown Pools underpass on June 29.

In March this year Brown, who at that time had 136 previous convictions, was ordered to pay £50 by Ipswich magistrates after admitting begging in a public place on various occasions between December 6 and January 16.

At her latest sentencing the court was told Brown had also stolen four packs of beef and a joint of gammon totalling £57 from Marks & Spencer in Westgate Street, Ipswich, on June 18.

She had also taken jeans worth £44.95 from Gap on August 30 and perfume valued at £37.98 from Boots in Tavern Street on August 12.

At a separate hearing Terri Forrest, of Stoke Street, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to begging in a public place when he appeared before the town’s magistrates.

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The 32-year-old, who was also convicted of the same offence twice in two months last year, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months.

Forrest admitted asking for money in the Buttermarket on May 12.

Darryl Hood, of Turret Lane, Ipswich, had his case proven in his absence.

The 45-year-old was fined a total of £100 and ordered to pay £20 to the victims’ fund and costs of £85.

Hood was caught begging in Dial Lane on April 24 and July 18.

The third case involved Mark McLaughlin, 42, of Black Horse Lane, Ipswich, who is alleged to have been asking for money in Buttermarket and Upper Brook Street on April 24.

No plea was entered and the matter adjourned until October 31.

Earlier this year Ipswich police felt a targeted campaign against beggars was beginning to bear fruit.

Officers were attempting to get more than 20 men and women known to beg regularly off the streets.

The ongoing operation aims to find a long-term solution to a problem which has grown over the years.

However, if beggars do not take up the offer of help and persist in trying to scrounge money police have stressed they will be arrested.

After the latest court cases Ipswich Policing Commander, Superintendent Louisa Pepper said: “Officers have been targeting begging in the town since Christmas 2013 to help find long-term sustainable solutions to get those begging off the streets.

“At the start of the campaign, 25 individuals were found to be begging persistently in Ipswich, which has now reduced to seven individuals.

“This has been achieved through the Ipswich Locality Homelessness Partnership, which sees a wide range of partners working together to meet the needs of homeless people in Ipswich through appropriately tailored support packages.

“Unfortunately not all those begging will engage and embrace the support offered and those who continue to beg will be subject to enforcement action, arrested and charged to court. We will continue to work with partners to offer our support to those willing to accept it.”