Northern Ireland man gets conditional discharge for begging beside ATM
A man has been given a conditional discharge at Londonderry Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to begging beside a bank machine.
Douglas Duff (39), from Crawford Square in the city, admitted contravening the 1847 Vagrancy Ireland Act by placing himself in a public street to beg.
A solicitor for the Public Prosecution Service said that at 2pm on April 18, a police officer in the Strand Road area of the city stopped to withdraw money from a Bank of Ireland ATM.
The officer heard the defendant asking members of the public for money. The defendant, who appeared to have been drinking, told the officer he was trying to get money to get a taxi home. The police then arranged for a lift to bring him to his house.
Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said it was not aggressive street begging, but that Duff was simply asking for spare change.
"In terms of legislation used to prosecute my client, in the midst of the Irish famine between 1847 and 1852, legislation was passed in 1847 called the Vagrancy Ireland Act to deal with poor families on the sides of the roads who were starving to death", he said.