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Man is caught inhaling butane gas on Norwich’s Prince of Wales Road the day after release from six week prison sentence imposed for consuming butane gas

PUBLISHED: 17:38 24 March 2017

Norwich views. Prince of Wales Road, Norwich.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich views. Prince of Wales Road, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

A man was caught inhaling butane gas the day after he was released from prison for an earlier breach of a criminal behaviour order imposed to stop him doing it.

Andrew Francis, 36, of no fixed abode, was seen by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) sitting on the ground at the entrance of Wensum House on Prince of Wales Road in Norwich.

Francis was told by the officer he was in breach of a criminal behaviour order which prohibited him from begging within the city of Norwich.

But Francis, who had already been spoken to by another officer earlier the same day, then started inhaling butane gas from a canister.

Francis, who is also banned from consuming butane as part of the order, carried on inhaling the substance despite repeatedly being told not to.

He was arrested and appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court where he admitted breaching the order on March 23 this year.

At the time Francis had only been out of prison for one day after having sentenced to six weeks behind bars when he admitted breaching the order at the beginning of March.

That breach of the order, which was first issued to him in July last year, also involved consuming butane gas in Norwich at the beginning of March.

The court had heard that Francis was hoping to get accommodation to try and break the cycle of crime and the “revolving door syndrome”.

Francis, who appeared via videolink and wore a blue top, trousers but no socks, was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months.

Paul Allen, chair of the Norwich bench, said Francis had “an unenviable list of criminal matters in the past” and had breached the CBO on a number of occasions. But he hoped Francis would be able to get accommodation and support on offer and so gave him an “opportunity” to get out of the cycle of crime. He was also told to pay a £115 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the case, Sgt Mark Shepherd said: “Today’s case should reassure local residents that we will take swift actions against anyone breaching a Community Behaviour Order and seek prosecution through the courts.”

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