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A man from Barnstaple has been fined £219 after being found guilty of breaching a Public Spaces Protection Order in Barnstaple town centre (PSPO) following a successful prosecution by North Devon Council (NDC) on 1 February.

Magistrates heard that the offence occurred in July 2021, when Police Constables (PCs) observed Christopher Paul Reed, 42, of Victoria Road in Barnstaple drinking alcohol within the boundary of the PSPO. The PSPO was introduced in 2021 to stop people drinking alcohol on the streets and, if necessary, allow an authorised person to confiscate it.

The court was told that the two PCs were on patrol when they were alerted to a group of people who were gathered in Litchdon Street, near Barnstaple Square. They found Reed openly drinking alcohol and asked him to stop and surrender the container. He refused and became argumentative. Despite being warned that he was committing an offence by drinking alcohol in breach of the PSPO, he continued to do so.

On 8 October 2021, Mr Reed was visited by an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer from NDC and issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for being in possession of alcohol within the PSPO area and failing to surrender it when requested to do so by a police officer.

When Mr Reed failed to pay the FPN, despite being given several chances to pay by instalments, he was subsequently summonsed to court for breaching the PSPO. Reed did not attend court and was fined £100, with a victim surcharge of £34 and £85 costs.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says: “Our town centres should be places where all members of our community feel welcome and safe. We have put Public Spaces Protection orders in place to prevent anti-social behaviour.

We are working hard to make North Devon a great place in which to live, work and shop. Residents and visitors shouldn’t have to put up with behaviour such as this. There are a range of support services available for people who would like support to recover from addictions, but we will not hesitate to send out a strong message when the circumstances justify it.

"This prosecution makes it clear to everyone that we take this issue very seriously. We will continue to work closely with the police and take formal action against those who breach the terms of the PSPOs we have in place.”

The terms of the PSPO are that any person within the restricted area, whilst in a street or any other public place to which the public have access without payment, shall surrender any intoxicating substance in their possession when requested to do so by an authorised person if:

  • they are found to be ingesting, inhaling, injecting or otherwise using an intoxicating substance, or
  • they are in possession of an intoxicating substance with intent to use such substance within the restricted area, or
  • the authorised person has reasonable grounds to believe that such person is using or intends to use the intoxicating substance within the restricted area 

A person who fails to comply with the PSPO requirement has committed an offence under section 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and is liable to a fixed penalty of £100 or if they fail to pay and are convicted are liable to a fine of up to £500.