Freedom to walk streets

Simon Frodsham
Simon Frodsham
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A HOMELESS man has won the right to walk the streets of Lytham.

Simon Frodsham, 41, has been arrested more than 160 times for breaching the terms of his Anti Social Behaviour Order.

For eight years privately educated Frodsham – described in court as a man who “prefers to sleep under the stars” – has, under the terms of the order, been banned from walking through his affluent home town.

During that time he has been behind bars for 90 per cent of the time and the cost of keeping him in jail, police time arresting him and court time prosecuting him has escalated to £1.4m, Blackpool Magistrates Court heard.

Frodsham was initially banned from Lytham for repeatedly begging and sleeping in church doorways.

He applied for his Asbo to be lifted on the basis the order was not working and it infringed his human right to walk down the streets of his home town.

His lawyer Steven Townley told the court: “My client believes the original order was made maliciously because he is the only homeless man in Lytham. This is a town with a high proliferation of millionaires with multi-million pound houses.

“Had Mr Frodsham lived in Manchester or Liverpool or Blackpool there would be no order.”

The first Asbo order, made in 2003, lasted five years. The police successfully had it extended for another five years until 2013.

Mr Townley argued: “The Asbo is now not required because my client is not committing criminal acts or being offensive to the public.

“He is not anti social he merely walks into his home town. Crossing an invisible line he gets arrested.

“It is the town where he has friends, where his mother lives and where he gets support.”

Lancashire Police formally opposed the lifting of the Asbo.

Police lawyer Chris Kehoe said : “In many respects it would appear this man breaches this Asbo because he wants to get arrested and get a meal and bed for the night.

“He can do this knowing there are no victims of his crime all he has to do is breach the order.

“When the order was not in place he turned to crime and anti social behaviour so in terms of protecting the public the order is working.”

Lifting the ban on Frodsham going into Lytham, Deputy District Judge Roger Lowe said: “At one stage under this Asbo you were given virtually every sentence for breaking it including long terms of imprisonment.

“Mr Frodsham should not be criminalised for walking down the streets of his home town there is no evidence he has done anyone any harm of late.

“Therefore I think it is time to revisit the order and give Mr Frodsham freedom of movement in Lytham.”

The judge retained two clauses of the Asbo in which Frodsham should not deliberately or recklessly cause damage or cause other residents harassment, alarm or distress.

After the case Frodsham said: “I have felt like a political prisoner who lost eight years of his life for nothing other than walking in my home town.

“I shall be taking up a compensation claim against the police for what I have lost.”