A PROLIFIC Southend High Street beggar has been sent to prison.

Mark Pearson, 47, of Grampian Flats, Balmoral Road, Westcliff, returned to begging after breaching a criminal behaviour order.

The order, which was put in place in November, prohibited him from begging.

Yet Pearson was seen outside the entrance to the Co-Operative store in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, asking people for money on January 28 this year.

In the aftermath Pearson turned violent and attacked PC Marc Cann and was subsequently charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty.

Pearson was also charged with an additional count of assaulting a police officer after he assaulted PC Northcott on February 26 in Basildon - an offence he committed while on bail for the original charges.

Pearson denied all four charges and refused to attend the courtroom - and instead insisted on staying inside his cell.

The court found him guilty in his absence.

Temporary Insp Ian Hughes, of Southend Police, said: “Pearson has been a regular face on Southend High Street for years, he has been given many opportunities by various agencies to change his ways.

“He has chosen not to, the courts have taken a dim view of his behaviour which affects the community and furthermore assaulting my officers in the process which is unacceptable. This demonstrates that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

“Southend Police are working closely with Southend Council to ensure Southend is a safe place, Criminal Behaviour Orders are just one tool we are using.”

Pearson was sentenced to four months in prison for assaulting PC Cann - and two months for assaulting PC Northcott to run consecutively.

It was decided there would be no separate penalty for breaching the order.