A HOMELESS man described as Colchester’s “number one public nuisance” and “a danger to women” has been banned from the town centre for life.

Paul Warboys, 43, has been served with an injunction for carrying out a persistent campaign of abuse against shoppers and traders.

A hearing at Colchester County Court heard the catalogue of abuse included spitting and swearing at shoppers, vandalising shops and indiscriminate assaults.

Rebekah Straughan, representing Colchester Council, said: “He has been identified by police as the number one public nuisance in the Colchester area and is a particular danger to women.

“The individual targets female members of the public, who are at risk of verbal abuse and random assaults.”

Judge Stephen Holt was handed statements made by ten members of the public, two police officers and a CCTV operator detailing Warboys’s unruly behaviour.

Judge Holt said: “There’s a very clear picture of intimidation, harassment and abusive behaviour by Mr Warboys, especially to women.

“It is persistent and regrettably in keeping with his past behaviour in other parts of the country.”

Following the hearing, Insp Paul Butcher, of Colchester police, said the injunction was a significant step forward in the fight against antisocial behaviour in the town.

He added: “This individual has been a threat, in particular to women, coming into the town centre and it now gives us the power to exclude him. The town is a safer and better place as a result.

“We would like to thank Colchester Council’s antisocial behaviour team, in particular Michael Sharp, for taking a lead in obtaining this order.”

Tim Young, councillor responsible for community safety, said the order would give retailers and shoppers relief against “repeated and intense” nuisance.

He added: “Mr Warboys has continued to offend at an alarming rate by targeting members of the public with begging, indiscriminate assaults and committing damage to retail properties.

Judge Holt granted the injunction in Warboys’s absence, but when he turned up at the court 40 minutes late, Mr Sharp served him with the order.