Man to fight countywide drink ban

A MAN barred from every pub in Suffolk and Norfolk today pledged to move to Cambridge in order to get a drink.Michael Middleton has been taking the train to Essex to get a drink ever since magistrates slapped a ban on him visiting any one of around 1,800 pubs in the two counties – even though he claims he has never been drunk in Norfolk.

A MAN barred from every pub in Suffolk and Norfolk today pledged to move to Cambridge in order to get a drink.

Michael Middleton has been taking the train to Essex to get a drink ever since magistrates slapped a ban on him visiting any one of around 1,800 pubs in the two counties – even though he claims he has never been drunk in Norfolk.

The 57-year-old, who has appeared in court 34 times in two years for drink-related offences, has also pledged his case to take his case to the Court of Human Rights in Brussels.

He said: "It's an infringement of my personal liberty. I cannot understand the order that magistrates put on me. I like a drink but this is too much."

Mr Middleton, who is unemployed, claims drinking helps his chronic osteoporosis.

He said: "Without a drink even walking is difficult. But when I have a drink I can run around."

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He was last arrested on April 24 for urinating in a bush and making obscene gestures at officers.

Lowestoft Magistrates' Court heard how he had no recollection of the incident before waking up in a police cell.

He was made the subject of a two-year anti social behaviour order preventing him from drinking in public or going into licensed premises in the two counties.

At Middleton's appeal hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, Judge John Holt upheld the ban, in order to "protect the public".

Middleton, a former county pool player who lives in High Street, Lowestoft, said: "I shall have to move. I can drink at home but I prefer pubs. I am good at pool but I might as well smash my cues now. I sometimes get the train to Essex for a drink but I prefer Cambridge. That's where I will try next.

"I have tried to give up alcohol but it's very difficult. There are a few alcoholics in the flats where I live. If I lend them money, they pay me back in alcohol."

The cost of taking the train to Essex for a drink means Mr Middleton can only repay the £729 he owes the court at £14 a fortnight.

Mr Middleton, who represented himself in court, said: "It serves them right. How come I am banned from drinking in Norfolk. I have never been drunk in Norfolk. They might as well ban me in every pub in the country."

He accused Suffolk police of using him as "target practice" for rookie cops.

He said: "I used to live in London. Police there just lock you up overnight and then let you go. In Suffolk police make a career out of arresting me."

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