A HOMELESS street artist known for his colourful pavement drawings has been banned from Colchester town centre.

Michael Chaukley, known to friends and many passers-by as Mick, had been sleeping rough in the town for several years.

His detailed sketches of animals drew the eye and impressed many shoppers.


Detailed - one of Chaukley's drawings

But a County Court judge granted an injunction sought by Colchester Council, which bans Mr Chaukley from entering the town centre.

On Thursday, February 14, Judge Shanks heard how the rough sleeper had continued to beg and draw on the pavement, despite repeated efforts by support agencies and outreach workers to help him.

A Colchester Council spokesman said Chaukley would "become aggressive" if anyone offered him anything other than money to satisfy a drug dependency.

He added zone wardens and police officers had tried on numerous occasions to control his behaviour.

The court was told how Chaukley was given a Community Protection Warning on September 7, 2018, preventing him from defacing public land with graffiti, obstructing the highway, setting fire to his belongings, begging or being under the influence of any substances in public.

Less than a month later Chaukley was served with a Community Protection Notice, as he did not adhere to the warning.

On October 19, 2018, he was arrested for a public order offence in the town centre and two breaches of his CPN.

He was fined by magistrates – but four days later was again seen drawing on the pavement and begging.

On December 11, 2018, Chaukley assaulted a council street sweeper driver.

Mike Lilley, Colchester councillor responsible for public safety, said Chaukley had refused to accept help on multiple occasions.

He said: “Unfortunately, because of their complex individual issues, some people will still sleep rough and not accept any help available.

"However, that should not prevent us from acting in the interest of the wider community if their entrenched behaviour is anti-social and doing so would also be for their own good.

“We always work to support people and offer them a route out of a destructive lifestyle towards a new life off the streets, but ultimately, if they refuse to do that, we must take action for the good of the community and the person trapped in that situation.

“The tragedy is that Mr Chaukley is obviously a gifted artist whose talents could be recognised by a much wider audience if only he acted on the assistance available – something we have tried to persuade him to do for some time.

“I hope this injunction compels him to reflect on some of the other options available and to engage with the specialist support he clearly needs.”

Judge Shanks ordered Chaukley be served the injunction for 12 months, granting the police the power to arrest him without a warrant if there is reasonable cause to suspect a breach.

Supporters have previously raised money to try and help Chaukley, inspired by his impressive artwork.

In a previous interview with the Gazette, the rough sleeper said he had been homeless since the age of 13.

Campaigners and supporters previously said Chaukley had become an "easy target" for the council, with his drawings regularly washed away by wardens.