Men caught begging both had homes

Abingdon Street, Blackpool

Abingdon Street, Blackpool

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Two men repeatedly caught begging were found to have homes and were receiving benefits.

Colin Clapp, 27, of Derby Road, North Shore, and Jody Neil, 37, of Foxhall Road, Blackpool, both admitted four offences of begging.

Clapp and Neil were each given a 12 months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £15 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Lynda Bennett, prosecuting, said a number of complaints had been made to police about Clapp befriending elderly people in cafes and asking them for money.

Between January 25 and March 15 he was seen begging four times in Birley, Victoria and Abingdon streets.

When confronted Clapp said he was trying to get money for a cup of tea and to sleep in a night shelter.

Neil was seen begging on Abingdon Street four times between December 19 last year and March 4 this year. Officers saw him sitting on the floor with a pot of change asking people for money.

Gary McAnulty, for Clapp, said his client had a criminal record and he could not get a job. He got housing benefit but had to pay top-ups of £20 to £30 on his rent.

Neil said he had a heroin habit and a drink problem both of which he had cut down on.

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