A beggar who faked homelessness to continuously ask for money has been jailed.

Thomas Roy, 51, of Montgomery Close, Colchester was handed an eight-week jail sentence when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday 8 February.

Roy was also previously given a two year criminal behaviour order because of his persistent anti-social behaviour, and he has been banned from begging, and entering Colchester town centre except to attend pre-arranged medical, legal or other appointments for professional-related matters.

However, he breached the order on Friday 1 February after begging for money in the town centre.

He was arrested and charged with breaching a community behaviour order and appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court the next day.

Roy breached the order another four times between February 4 and 7.

Sergeant Martin Willsher said: “Roy has shown a complete disregard for the criminal behaviour order that was imposed on him by the magistrates’ court.

“Just two days after it was issued, he was arrested and charged with breaching it, but then continued to breach it.

“A huge amount of work has been undertaken by my team and our partners to try and prevent him from committing further offences.

On three of those occasions he was seen begging for money and on the fourth occasion he came into the town centre with no pre-arranged appointment.

He admitted to all four counts.

Roy was also ordered to pay a total of £225 in costs to the court.

Sgt Willsher, added: “The custodial sentence imposed today is a reminder to not only Roy but anyone else who is intent on committing crime in Colchester that we and our partners involved in the Colchester Town Centre Action Plan will use the full range of powers at our disposal to take robust action to safeguard the community.”

Mike Lilley, Colchester Borough Council’s public safety councillor feels lessons can be taken from this incident.

He said: “This case should serve as a lesson to anyone thinking of repeatedly flouting the law, that we are serious about curbing anti-social behaviour that can have a tremendously detrimental effect on the quality of life of residents and visitors to the town.

“Together with the police and other partners, we want to create a Better Colchester that promises a safer and crime-free town centre that people can enjoy. Results like this play a big part in helping us to achieve that ambition.”