Local man served injunction for pretending to be homeless
Published on 5th April 2019
A man from Cheltenham who pretended to be homeless and was spotted begging outside shops in Cheltenham has been served with an anti-social behaviour injunction (ASBI).
Stephen Smith, 44, of Cowper Road, Cheltenham would bring along items such as a sleeping bags and blankets to make himself look like a rough sleeper despite living in accommodation and receiving full benefits.
Smith would sit and pretend to be homeless on most days in either the town centre or outside the Coop in Montpellier and persuade members of the public to give him cash.
A complaint was received by a member of the public that Smith had made threats towards them that prompted the application for the injunction.
The case against him was brought by Solace, a joint team that includes officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucester City Council.
The injunction forbids Smith from:
- Engaging in conduct which causes or is capable of causing alarm, harassment or distress to any person within the town of Cheltenham
- Entering or being in the area outlined red and shaded blue on the map attached at any time
- Begging in a public place with personal items around him or displaying anything that could be used to receive money at any time within the town of Cheltenham.
Solace Team Leader, Louise Boyle said: “We have been aware of Mr Smith begging in Cheltenham for some time; we have tried to engage with him and offer him support and help. He initially told us that he was homeless but checks soon revealed this to be untrue and that he had accommodation and received benefits.
“We became aware that he was using money gained from begging to fund his drug habit.
“When challenged he became abusive and refused to engage. Mr Smith was verbally warned before a letter of concern and ultimately a final warning was issued to him in an effort to get him to stop. At every stage we have signposted Mr Smith to partner agencies that can support him with his drug use.
“He continued to cause issues and therefore led us with no other choice but to seek an injunction.”
The injunction is in place for a year and expires on 1 April 2020.
If anyone witnesses Smith breaching his injunction please contact the Solace Team on 01242 264368 or the police on 101.
A breach of an ASBI is classed as contempt of court and punishable by an unlimited fine or two years imprisonment.
For media enquiries, contact: communications on 01242 264154, email email@example.com
Map for Mr Smith's exclusion zone: