After 28 complaints in five months, persistent beggar banned from Leeds city centre

Michael Ruth has been banned from Leeds city centre

Michael Ruth has been banned from Leeds city centre

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A beggar has been banned from Leeds city centre for a year following a history of aggressive, abusive and threatening behaviour.

Michael Ruth was given an anti-social behaviour injunction (ASBI) prohibiting him from begging anywhere in Leeds or entering a designated area of the city centre.

Between June and October this year, the 41-year-old was the subject of 28 complaints of anti-social behaviour.

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He was accused of aggressively asking the public for money in the city centre and Harehills, as well as incidents of assault and racial abuse and making threats to hospital staff.

Under the ban he is not allowed to enter Tesco Express on Roundhay Road in Harehills.

If he fails to comply with the injunction Ruth could face a fine or prison.

Coun Bill Urry, Leeds City Council’s lead member for homelessness, said the city authorities were committed to help people found begging access support.

He said: “This remains an absolute priority for us, but what we will not tolerate is a persistent and, in this particular case, aggressive and violent individual who refuses all offers of support, and despite having no reason to do so, continues to beg.”

News of the action comes after the launch of a new ‘three strikes’ policy to target persistent city centre begging.

It means beggars face a warning the first time they are caught, a 48-hour ban the second time and, then, possible arrest.

Supt Sam Millar, who heads the Safer Leeds partnership, said: “This case is another really good example of how the police and council are working in partnership to make full use of the available legislation to address behaviour that has an ongoing detrimental effect on the lives of people in the city.”

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