A serial beggar who continually flouted a court order by begging at cash machines has been jailed for 40 weeks.

Lee Chignell, 30, was given a two-year order in September 2019 which prevented him from begging in a public place or acting in a manner which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress.

The order also stated he must remain more than ten metres of any cash machine within Chelmsford city centre.

However, between August 6 and August 11, he breached the order on ten separate occasions.

They included aggressive begging, asking for money at cash machines and asking members of the public to buy him hot chocolates and milkshakes.

Police say he Chignell was making hundreds of pounds per day through his begging which in turn was putting people off visiting parts of Chelmsford city centre.

Chignell was sentenced for his breaches at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Saturday (August 21).

Acting Chief Insp Kelly Thurston said: “We understand it is very difficult to say no when being asked for money on the street – it is human nature to try to help people.

“However, giving money to those begging is often funding a Class A drug addiction and encouraging drug gangs to operate in our city.

“Please think twice if you are considering doing this and perhaps donate to one of the city’s amazing charities instead who work tirelessly to support these individuals.

“In the end we had no choice but to take enforcement action against Chignell for his breaches and we hope this is of some comfort to the businesses in the city centre which have suffered as a result of his behaviour.”

For information on CHESS Homeless and Sanctus go to: https://chesshomeless.org/ or https://sanctus-home.com/.