Aggressive beggar jailed for breach of criminal behaviour order in Chelmsford city centre

A serial beggar who repeatedly breached a criminal behaviour order in Chelmsford city centre has been sentenced to 40 weeks in prison.

Lee Chignell, 30, was given the two-year order in September 2019 which prevents him, by law, of begging in a public place or acting in a manner which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress.

The order also states he must remain more than ten metres of any cash machine within Chelmsford city centre.

However, between August 6 and August 11, he breached the order a total of ten times, including by aggressively begging, asking for money at cash machines and asking members of the public to buy him hot chocolates and milkshakes.

Through his begging, he was making hundreds of pounds per day and his actions have had a significant impact on city centre businesses and put people off from going to parts of the city.

Acting Chief Inspector Kelly Thurston said: “We understand it is very difficult to say no when being asked for money on the street – it is human nature to try to help people.

“However, giving money to those begging is often funding a Class A drug addiction and encouraging drug gangs to operate in our city.

“Please think twice if you are considering doing this and perhaps donate to one of the city’s amazing charities instead who work tirelessly to support these individuals.

“In the end we had no choice but to take enforcement action against Chignell for his breaches and we hope this is of some comfort to the businesses in the city centre which have suffered as a result of his behaviour.”

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Mick Ferris

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