'˜Aggressive' beggar banned from Leeds as he has a house and receives benefits

David BraithwaiteDavid Braithwaite
David Braithwaite
A man has been banned from begging in Leeds after being found to have a house and in receipt of benefits.

David Braithwaite, 43, of Hunslet, was given a Criminal Behaviour Order when he appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to twice breaching dispersal orders despite having a home and being in receipt of benefits.

Police said the begging was “aggressive” and persistent.

The move comes as a result of work by officers from Operation Leodis – a team funded by Leeds City Council to tackle mainly housing-related anti-social behaviour – after city centre residents, commuters and businesses reported feeling intimidated and harassed by those approaching them.

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In some cases, people said they were too scared to go into the city centre as a result.

Braithwaite, who repeatedly refused to engage with support agencies, had been begging in Bradford city centre since 2013 and moved to Leeds in 2015.
 Since then he has been spoken to about his begging on 35 occasions and breached dispersal orders 15 times.

He was frequently seen reaching out to passers-by with a paper cup to ask for money and portrayed himself as homeless.

However, checks later confirmed he lives at an address in Hunslet and receives housing benefit and employment and support allowance.

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Chief Insp Nick Ireland, of the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds, said: “We hope this wide-reaching order will give David Braithwaite the incentive to get the support he needs, and we encourage the public to assist us by reporting any breaches if they see him begging.”