Court order to tackle begging in Leeds city centre is thrown out

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AN injunction aimed at cracking down on begging in Leeds city centre has been discharged by a High Court judge.

Leeds City Council was granted the injunction last year in a bid to target fake beggars.

Previously, offenders were handed ASBOs, which could take months to go through the courts.

The radical legal move was the first of its kind in the country and meant that offenders could go on to face prison or a hefty fine if they continued to operate in the city centre.

But it was discharged by a High Court judge this week.

Council bosses say new legislation that comes into force next month would still grant them similar powers.

Leeds-based solicitors Lester Morrill challenged the injunction against two men who could have faced jail in relation to a breach of the terms last year.

They appeared at Leeds District Registry on Thursday where the council agreed the injunction should be discharged in relation to the two men.

The authority continued to argue the injunction should still apply to others who breached the conditions but Judge Andrew Saffman agreed to discharge the court order in its entirety.

A spokeswoman from Leeds City Council said: “We chose not to contest the application to have this injunction discharged due to new legislation being introduced next month, which will mean we are able to control persistent begging without the need to invoke this injunction.

“The new powers will give us better tools and help us tackle the underlying causes for each individual.”

She added: “We will also be able to establish a long-term approach to deal with the wider issues around persistent begging.”

“This result does not change our stance on persistent begging.

“We do not tolerate people who have absolutely no reason to beg, refuse any offers of help, and instead decide to continue begging in the city.”