Jarrow addict jailed for street begging in Sunderland

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A drug addict from Jarrow was supplementing his benefit payments by begging in the street.

Gavin Whitup, 38, was arrested in High Street West, Sunderland, on December 22.

He’s had a drug dependency problem for a number of years. He is in receipt of benefits. Unfortunately his finances don’t stretch to paying for the drugs and he resorts to begging

Chris Wilson, defending

“He was seen just after 5pm, sitting in a doorway of a disused shop with a paper cup at his feet and engaging members of the public in conversation,” prosecutor David Maddison told Sunderland magistrates.

He had a piece of cardboard with the words ‘Can you please spare some change and a hot drink and food’.

Whitup, of Eden Walk, admitted begging – his third such conviction.

Chris Wilson, defending, said: “He’s had a drug dependency problem for a number of years. Unfortunately his finances don’t stretch to paying for the drugs and he resorts to begging.” He was given a six-month conditional discharge and a £15 victim surcharge.