Jail sentence for beggar in Blackpool town centre clean-up

Blackpool Magistrates' Court
Blackpool Magistrates' Court

A persistent beggar who claimed to be homeless despite living in a flat has been jailed for 42 days.

Blackpoool magistrates were told that a warrant for the arrest of 42-year-old Michael Mullen had been in force for more than 30 weeks before he was finally arrested and brought to court.

These offences took place before this and when he was short of money to pay for a drug habit

Mullen of Brock Avenue, Fleetwood had previously been found guilty of five counts of begging in the Blackpool town centre both at day and night.

He has now admitted being in breach of a suspended jail term which magistrates decided to impose despite being told by his solicitor Leisa Splaine that her client had spent a long time in hospital where he had part of his intestine removed and now had to wear a colostomy bag.

Lynda Bennett, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said the authority was determined to improve its image as a family resort.

She said that Mullen was often seen by police and council officers sitting in on the footpath covered by a blanket with an upturned cap in front of him into which the public would drop change.

The prosecutor said that far from being homeless, Mullen received housing benefit for a flat on Palatine Road and his new home in Fleetwood.

The defence lawyer told the court: “This man has been bedridden for a long time because of his illness and his muscles have wasted away.”

“These offences took place before this and when he was short of money to pay for a drug habit.”