Man in court after breaching ban to stop him begging in Sunderland city centre

A man who begged in Sunderland city centre in order to survive has been a handed a six-month conditional discharge for breaking the requirements of a police ban.

Sunday, 29th December 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 30th December 2019, 2:09 am
The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Mark McManus, 24, of Lumley Tower, Hendon, was issued with a year-long community order by police in August, aimed at stopping his vagrancy, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

But he was spotted on two days in October, on CCTV and by a security guard, being helped by passers-by, including being given food and cash.

The court was told on the second occasion he was witnessed begging in Crow Tree Road, three times in the course of the day, but had taken to begging in desperation.

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Prosecutor Glenda Beck said: “The order prevents him from begging and not to enter parts of the city centre identified by the order.”

Heather Bolton, defending, told magistrates that then-homeless McManus had been driven to begging but was now trying to turn his life around.

She said: “Mr McManus was homeless for quite a significant time. He had been on the streets from April until a month ago. There have been some offences where he has been begging.

“It’s a sad situation but Mr McManus had nowhere to live and no money and did what he had to do to survive.

“A month ago, he found temporary accommodation with a friend. He has turned his life around in the last four weeks.

“He is trying to sort himself out. He looks a lot healthier than he has in the past. He’s trying to get employment and does want to have a successful life.”

No court costs were imposed on McManus, who pleaded guilty breaking a community order, but he must pay a £21 victim surcharge.