From the archive: "Terry's mother used to ring me up every day worried about him"

Terry Bailey, pictured in 2004, when he spoke candidly about his experiences of hard drug use and begging on the streets.
Terry Bailey, pictured in 2004, when he spoke candidly about his experiences of hard drug use and begging on the streets.

In 2004, reporter Bruce Smith interviewed Terry Bailey about how hard drugs and begging had become a way of life - and his hopes for a fresh start:

FOR THE first time in a decade Terry Bailey will spend Christmas under his own roof without hard drugs or the need to beg to buy them.

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders protect the public, but coupled with support services they can also help the individuals they target.

For reforming junkie and one-time big-time beggar Terry, life may just have begun again.

Thanks to the Asbo orders imposed on him and 14 others and the volunteer Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI) and English Church Houses group, he has not used drugs for four weeks.

Banning him from Leeds city centre removed his nearest opportunity to beg to feed his habit.

Getting off the streets into permanent accommodation and back onto withdrawal treatment set him on a new road.

One of two brothers from Beeston in Leeds, Terry started using "weed" – cannabis – as an 11-year-old.

"When I left high school at 16 I went straight onto heroin and crack cocaine. I didn't really know what it was. I have been using heroin 10 years and crack about eight."

He did once have a job as a warehouseman but he only lasted nine months.

Initially he got the money to buy the drugs from his mother, who – unable to cope with his craving – would hand over cash saved to pay the Poll Tax.

"She became an alcoholic and passed away. I think my drug taking pushed her down the road to drink," said Terry candidly.

"I never stole from outside the home. But I took money from home," he said.

Finally Terry left home for a life begging on the streets.

"They did not chuck me out. I left, because I could see what I was doing to them. My father used to let me come back to shower and have a meal. But he kept his room locked. If I could have seen his money I would probably have had it.

"I realised my friend could beg as much as £50, £80 or even £100 a day, so I got used to begging to fund my habit. I was not nasty, I could take 'no' for an answer. I lived on the streets for about 10 years solid."

John Rossington, of CRI, said: "Terry's mother used to ring me up every day worried about him."

Three times Terry tried to get off drugs through rehabilitation courses in Bradford, Liverpool and Nottingham, but each time he returned to Leeds and went back on heroin or crack.

"As soon as I got out I just got back on the street," said Terry.

His body was ravaged by the drugs and constant injecting. His legs developed ulcers and he was hit by double pneumonia.

"I thought I was doomed to be a smack or crack head for the rest of my life," he said.

But finally last August Leeds City Council and the police intervened with the Asbo orders in August and November.

A place was found for Terry at English Church's Ladybeck hostel in Eastgate, Leeds, and he was put on a methadone withdrawal regime.

Later he transferred to the Council's Pennington Place hostel in Hyde Park.

"I did start using again for about a week, but then stopped again," he said.

Finally Terry was offered an unfurnished council flat in south Leeds and, with the help of English Church worker Lesley Howard, it was basically furnished with cooker, bed and sofa.

"My life could be just beginning again like a baby. I want to get my family back.

"I have only been off drugs four weeks. I am finding it hard so I can only take it day by day," said Terry.

"I know it would be so easy to go begging in Headingley or York."

If his lifestyle continues to improve Terry would like to go to college to learn to be a "signing" interpreter - a skill he learned from his deaf father.

"I have even got a girlfriend who has never been on drugs in her life," said Terry proudly.

Mrs Howard said: "Terry is the first person I have worked with who has had an Asbo. To see the difference in him and how well he is doing is brilliant."

Mr Rossington said: "Of the 15 people given Asbos, 12 were drug users. Only two of those 12 are not on drug treatment programmes. Everyone has their own journey to make."

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