Bradford man sentenced for ‘persistent begging’ despite having home

A BRADFORD man has been issued with a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) after “persistent” begging – despite having a home and receiving benefits – West Yorkshire Police has said.

Robert Hill, who is 41, will not be allowed to beg anywhere in the Bradford district as part of the order, while it also prohibits him from entering certain areas.

The CBO was handed down to him after he appeared at Bradford Magistrates’ Court last week.

He was sentenced for a total of nine offences of begging, for which he also received a community order, including a 14-day curfew.

Hill’s offending has been monitored for over 18 months by the Bradford Anti-Social Behaviour Team and he was served with various interventions and warnings.

He received his final warning in February, and has been offered regular support throughout, police say.

West Yorkshire Police added that its officers and Bradford Council continue to work with support agencies and charities to divert those in genuine need away from street begging and get them the help they need, but, at the same time, they continue to receive large numbers of complaints about aggressive begging in the city centre and across the district as a whole.

Hill’s CBO, which will expire in October 2025, says he must not: “Enter the area of Bradford bordered by Thornton Road, Listerhills Road, St Andrews Villas, Back Great Russell Street, Archibald Street, Legrams Lane, Shearbridge Road, Woodhead Road, St Margarets Road, Great Horton Road, Laisteridge Lane, Easby Road, Morley Street or Princes Way, save for when attending planned appointments with court, solicitor, housing options, Bevan House, Unity (Change Grow Live) or Bridge Project”.

It also says that he is not allowed to ask another person for money or goods in the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council area, except as part of a contract of employment, a legitimate benefit claim, as a retail purchase or as a banking transaction.

The third and final condition of the CBO says Hill must not “sit, sleep or loiter in an area accessible to members of the public with any item or article which would give another person the impression that you are begging (such as a cup, hat, quilt or a sign) in the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council area.”

If Hill were to break any of the conditions of the CBO, he would risk arrest and being sent to prison.

Sergeant Ceri Lloyd, of Bradford District Police, said: “CBOs are reserved only for the most serious of offenders and only when all other avenues have been explored.

“The Anti-Social Behaviour Unit works closely with partner agencies, to ensure that individuals are given every opportunity to address their issues and receive the support they need.

“Helping those in genuine need on the streets of the city by seeing they get the right kind of support remains a key focus of our partnership work carried out with the council and other third sector agencies.

“Unfortunately, there are those that refuse to engage and persist in aggressive begging behaviour that has a detrimental effort on the lives of other people and on the individuals themselves.

“We hope this order will give Robert Hill the incentive to engage and get the support he needs, and we encourage the public to assist us by reporting any breaches of the order if they do see him begging.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus | News