Beggar jailed for one month

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A Buncrana man who was caught begging for the third time in four days has been jailed for a month.

Denis Francis Crumlish, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to begging in the Foyle Street area of Derry on July 6.

The incident occurred hours after the 37-year-old received a suspended sentence for a similar offence.

He had also appeared at a special sitting of the local Magistrate’s Court on Saturday morning.

The court heard he had begged £20 from two elderly women hours after District Judge Barney McElholm warned him to get the bus back to Buncrana.

Defence counsel Nicki Rountree said her client ‘promises to God he will get the bus back’ if a non-custodial sentence was imposed.

However, District Judge McElholm said ‘unfortunately for him Our Lord is not sitting here - it’s me’.

Ms Rountree said the 37-year-old is ‘extremely fearful’ of a prison sentence and was a ‘vulnerable man who suffers from a fear of enclosed spaces. A prison cell is extremely distressing for him’.

Jailing Crumlish, the judge said he had warned the 37-year-old he would get a custodial sentence if he was caught begging again.

He added: ‘There is no point in me sitting up here warning people and then going back on what I say I am going to do. The defendant has no one to blame but himself’.