Drug addict beggar given first ever ban from entering Leeds city centre

A drug addict beggar who threatened a barman with a hypodermic needle has been banned from Leeds city centre for five years in the first case of its kind.

By Sam Casey
Monday, 13th April 2015, 6:00 am
James Karman has been banned from Leeds city centre.
James Karman has been banned from Leeds city centre.

James Karman told the victim “you know my reputation and you know what I do with needles” after being asked to stop hassling customers outside Whitelocks pub off Briggate.

Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard he left when members of the public tried to intervene but then shouted: “I’ll be back in 30 minutes to mess you up”.

Police said Karman, of Holborn Street, Woodhouse, regularly hassled customers drinking or eating in courtyards or outdoor seating areas of pubs and bars. The 29-year-old also used drugs and left uncapped needles in public toilets.

Karman admitted threatening behaviour and possession of crack cocaine and was jailed for 14 weeks. But he also became the first beggar in Leeds to be given a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).

It bans him from the city centre other than to attend court or see his solicitor and prohibits him from begging, possessing an uncapped hypodermic needle or acting in a way that is likely to cause harassment.

He has also been banned from Meynell Heights in Holbeck for drug use and anti-social behaviour. If he breaches the order he could be arrested and face further prosecution.

Supt Sam Millar, who heads the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds, said: “It is important we take a balanced and co-ordinated approach and our priority should always be the wellbeing of the individual involved.

“Enforcement action is always the last resort and is only done when people ignore the offers of help that are available from a number of partner agencies.”

Coun Mark Dobson, Leeds City Council’s executive board member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, added: “Safer Leeds is continuing to undertake a range of work with partners to target anti-social behaviour in our communities and it is positive news that a CBO has been secured against this particular individual which means he is now banned from entering parts of the city centre.

“Anti-social behaviour is a real blight on our communities and we will not hesitate to use all of the powers at our disposal to put a stop to it immediately.”