40 Hours Community Work For "Beggar" Who Breached ASBO

Simon Wright must do unpaid community work

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A street beggar who duped well-wishers in Putney into thinking he was homeless, hungry and penniless - while living in a plush £300,000 flat in Fulham - has been told to carry out 40 hours of unpaid community work after breaching his anti-social behaviour order.

Simon Wright was convicted of breaching the order at West London magistrates court yesterday (Tuesday) after he was spotted begging for cash in Leicester Square and Oxford Street.

Mr Wright – who is thought to have profited by thousands of pounds from begging in Putney until he was given the asbo and banned from the SW15 postal area - was told by the magistrates:
“Begging is a form of working — it strikes us that you should try to do something more constructive.”

They sentenced him to 40 hours of unpaid community work and also imposed a 12-month community and supervision order.

The original order banning Mr Wright from Putney and prohibiting him from pestering passers-by for cash was secured in June as a result of close co-operation between the Thamesfield ward safer neighbourhoods team, Wandsworth Council’s community safety department and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Until the asbo was granted Mr Wright would spend day after day sitting with his dog next to a cashpoint machine near Putney Station demanding money from bank customers and passers-by. He wore ragged clothes and claimed to be homeless and hungry. It is estimated that he was raking in around £200 a day by duping shoppers, office workers and local residents.

And at the end of the day, instead of finding a hostel or a shelter to take refuge in, the 37-year-old would make the short walk across Putney Bridge to his comfortable housing association-owned flat in Fulham High Street.

As well as prohibiting him from Putney and Roehampton the asbo also barred him from begging anywhere in London.

He was also ordered to keep his dog muzzled and under control at all times in a public place after the court heard that it had bitten at least one person, and it also outlawed him from behaving in an aggressive or threatening way towards any person.

The order remains in place until May 2015.

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August 7, 2013