Town centre drinkers issued with Criminal Behaviour Orders
RESIDENTS who failed to pay on-the-spot fines for breaching Rugby town centre's Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) have been issued with Criminal Behaviour Orders.
Mariusz Pluta and Lucasz Bednarz failed to pay fixed penalty notices which were issued after both breached the conditions of the PSPO.
The PSPO was introduced by Rugby Borough Council in the summer of 2015 in a bid to crack down on anti-social behaviour caused by residents drinking in public spaces such as town centre parks, cemeteries and car parks.
Under the PSPO, council wardens and police officers have the power to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to individuals who refuse to abide by the terms of the order - which include consuming alcohol/drugs in a public space and refusing to hand over alcohol/drugs to a warden or officer on request.
Pluta, of no fixed abode, was issued with a £100 FPN by a council warden on 21 April 2016 after he was found drinking in the council car park off Railway Terrace and refused to hand over his alcohol.
The following day the 41-year-old was issued with another FPN when he again refused to allow his alcohol to be confiscated after being caught drinking in the Holy Trinity churchyard off Church Street.
Bednarz, of Biart Place, was also issued with a FPN on 22 April for drinking alcohol in the churchyard, and the 32-year-old received another FPN on 12 May after he refused to hand over his alcohol to a council warden after being found drinking in the grounds of the Percival Guildhouse.
After Pluta and Bednarz both failed to pay the FPNs, the cases were taken to Nuneaton's Warwickshire Justice Centre to be heard by magistrates.
But the pair failed to appear at hearings in October and December, and at a hearing on Tuesday (28 February) both were found guilty in their absence of breaching the PSPO.
Magistrates fined Pluta and Bednarz £200 each, and ordered both to pay £250 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
In addition, Pluta and Bednarz now face arrest if found breaching the terms of the town centre PSPO after magistrates granted an application from the council's barrister to issue the pair with Criminal Behaviour Orders.
Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: "Anti-social behaviour caused by individuals who habitually drink in public spaces in the town centre causes a great deal of distress to residents, evidence of which was heard by magistrates during the hearing.
"Public Space Protection Orders give councils the power to tackle such problems but we rely on the support of the courts when individuals refuse to pay fixed penalty notices.
"The Criminal Behaviour Orders granted by magistrates in this case mean both men now face arrest if found breaching the conditions of the PSPO, sending a clear message there's no place for anti-social behaviour in the town centre."
For more information on the town centre Public Space Protection Order, visit www.rugby.gov.uk/PSPO