Persistent Lincoln beggar on benefits served with injunction

A 53-year-old Lincoln man who has a home and is on benefits has appeared in court after persistently begging.

John Cotton, of Laughton Way, has been banned from begging within City of Lincoln Council’s boundaries.

The council secured an injunction against Cotton at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, September 25, following complaints from members of the public.

The injunction forbids Cotton from approaching members of the public and begging or otherwise making requests for money or goods.

It also forbids him from sitting on the floor in a public place and begging.

Sam Barstow, Service Manager for Public Protection and Anti-Social Behaviour at the city council, said: “John Cotton has been a persistent beggar for a number of years and has been know to be aggressive in some instances.

“He mainly targeted elderly and vulnerable people and waited outside churches to target people leaving services.

“Cotton is not homeless and is in receipt of benefits. In July 2013 incidents began to increase and we made joint visits with Lincolnshire Police before issuing a formal warning.

“Following further complaints from neighbours and members of the public Cotton was put on an Acceptable Behaviour Contract in August 2013. However, we continued to receive reports and, despite being arrested for each offence, Cotton continued to beg.

“Consultation was undertaken and it was deemed necessary to apply to the court for an injunction under the Local Government Act to prevent a public nuisance.

“The council recognises and supports its partners in helping those who are vulnerable or in need and would encourage members of the public to give to charities or support agencies such as the Nomad or the YMCA, so that proper help and support can be offered.”