Beggar carried tin whistle to pose as busker while asking for money
A BEGGAR who posed as a busker by holding a penny whistle has been banned from begging and drinking alcohol in city centre streets.
Community Protection Officers said Darren Thomas, 31, was well known to city businesses for begging near cash points and wandering the streets drunk.
Nottingham magistrates heard that when asked to give up his drink and move on, he would refuse and hurl abuse at officers.
Staff from community protection, a partnership of police and the city council, said Thomas was seen sitting beneath the Lloyds TSB cash machines in St James's Street and other locations in the city centre on numerous occasions in January.
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Thomas, of Boston Street, would ask passers-by for cash while holding, but not playing, the penny whistle.
He was arrested on January 18 and admitted begging when he appeared before magistrates.
He was given a six-month conditional discharge and a two-year criminal anti-social behaviour order banning him from begging or carrying an open container of alcohol in the city centre. He faces arrest if he breaches the order.
Councillor Alex Norris, portfolio holder for community protection, said: "We have a number of popular and legal busking sites in the city centre where genuine buskers entertain citizens and visitors.
"Begging is an offence and doing so on the pretence of busking discredits our legitimate buskers."