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Notorious street drinker, Bradley Neville Bell, avoids jail
A NOTORIOUS street drinker has avoided prison after he breached a ban on drinking in public, by claiming he thought York’s Merchant Adventurer’s Hall grounds were a beer garden.
Bradley Neville Bell, 43, was found by police drinking from a can of lager in the gardens of Merchant Adventurer’s Hall at about 12.30pm on Monday, two months after he was given a five- year antisocial behaviour order (ASBO), to prevent him from causng trouble in the city.
Bell, currently of no fixed abode, but formerly of the Arc Light Centre, faced up to five years in prison and a fine for breaking the ASBO, and has more than 20 previous convictions for violence and threatening behaviour.
Katie Varlow, prosecuting, told York Magistrates’ Court, Bell had been seen drinking in the garden of the Grade I listed building on Monday, and when approached by police officers told them “he thought it was a beer garden and that it was okay”.
He was then arrested, and taken into custody.
Meghan Waldren, for Bell, told the court he had “bumped into someone he used to associate with”, who invited him for a drink. Bell told the man he could not, due to the rules of his ASBO, but his friend said “I know somewhere we can go, it’s a beer garden”.
Ms Waldren said: “He only had one can, he was not intending to spend the rest of the day drinking, just catching up with friends.
“He was not causing a disturbance or being a nuisance just having a drink but accepts it is a breach of the order.”
The court heard Bell had been sleeping rough for several weeks, but hoped the return of his girlfriend and new accommodation would lead to more stability in his life if he was spared prison.
Dorianne Butler, chairman of the magistrates bench, said: “We have looked at your appalling record and finally you have got an ASBO.
“They are usually the last chance before you go to prison, but we are going to order time served in custody until the end of court today as the sentence we impose.”