Published On: Mon, Apr 13th, 2015 on 12:34 pm

Beggar BANNED from Leeds city centre following needles threat

A beggar who threatened someone with a hypodermic needle has been banned from Leeds city centre.

James Karman Leeds

James Karman (left). Image: West Yorkshire Police.

James Karman, 29, of Holborn Street, Leeds, was made the subject of a Criminal Behaviour Order when he was sentenced at Leeds Magistrates Court for threatening behaviour and possession of crack cocaine.

The court heard that in January this year, Karman had been seen asking people for money outside Whitelocks Ale House in Turk’s Head Yard.

He was challenged by a 27-year-old barman, but Karman threatened him saying: “You know my reputation and you know what I do with needles”.

When members of the public tried to intervene he said: “I’ll be back in thirty minutes to mess you up”.

He was arrested two hours later and when searched in police custody was found to have a small quantity of crack cocaine.

He was sentenced to a total of 14 weeks in prison, which included a previous suspended sentence.

Five year ban

The Criminal Behaviour Order, which lasts five years, bans him from the city centre other than to attend court or see his solicitor via prior appointment.

It also prohibits him from approaching anyone to ask for money, sitting or loitering with any article used for begging, such as a cup, hat or box, possessing an uncapped hypodermic needle, and acting in a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Another condition bars him from entering any building or premises that he has already been banned or excluded from in West Yorkshire.

If he breaches the order he is liable to be arrested and face further prosecution.

In separate proceedings brought by Leeds City Council, Karman was made the subject of an injunction banning him from entering the Meynell Heights tower block, in Holbeck, where he has been involved in drug taking and anti-social behaviour.

He was identified as a persistent beggar who would target customers drinking or eating in courtyards or outdoor seating areas of licensed premises.

When challenged by members of staff he would threaten to assault them.

He had also been known to inject drugs and leave uncapped needles in toilets in bars and theatres.

Superintendent Sam Millar, who heads the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds, said: “This case is another really good example of how the police and council are working in partnership to make full use of the available legislation to address behaviour that has an ongoing detrimental effect on the lives of people in the city.

“This case has been the subject of a multi-agency conference with a range of partner agencies who provide support to people who beg on the streets.”

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