The face of jailed persistent beggar who 'preyed on the vulnerable' including teenager and women

Richard Lewis cruelly intimidated vulnerable people
Richard Lewis cruelly intimidated vulnerable people -Credit:Essex Police

A persistent beggar who "preyed almost exclusively on the vulnerable" has been jailed for ten months after breaching a court order. Richard Lewis, 37, of no fixed address, was subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) on April 5.

This order followed reports Lewis had been aggressively begging and escorting people to cash points to ensure they withdrew money for him. Under the terms of the order, Lewis was strictly prohibited from swearing, intimidating or abusing people in public.

Two days later, and despite the order being in place, he approached a vulnerable teenage boy who has autism. He asked the boy for money and when they refused he resorted to intimidation.

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After accosting the boy for ten minutes, Lewis escorted him to a cash machine and waited while the boy withdrew and handed over an amount of cash. On April 13, a woman was outside Southend Railway Station when she was approached by Lewis.

He intimidated her and pestered her for money in breach of the CBO. On the same day, Lewis threatened a member of staff at a shop in London Road, Southend.

On Tuesday, April 16, he attended Barrington Flats in direct breach of the CBO. A day later he was witnessed on CCTV assaulting a man by smashing a glass bottle over his head.

Lewis was arrested later that day. On April 19 he admitted seven breaches of a CBO, three public order offences and possession of an offensive weapon. He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay £100 in compensation to the teenage boy.

PC Lois Greenlees, of Southend Town Centre Team, said: "Lewis preyed almost exclusively on the vulnerable – in the case of these breaches a young female and a young boy with autism. He caused great concern in the community and I know all too well how unsettling this behaviour had proved to be for law-abiding members of the public.

"This is precisely why we worked hard to secure a CBO, as breaches of this order will be treated seriously and provide us with a vital tool to prevent or deter further offending. Where people committed to behaving in an anti-social manner are made the subject of a CBO, breaches can and will be met with a prison sentence.

"Lewis has proven time and time again he will not cease this disruptive and intimidating behaviour and will now rightly spend a term behind bars."

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