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Homeless alcoholic couple banned from town centre to 'clean up area'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 July 2019

Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth. Picture: David Hannant

Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth. Picture: David Hannant

Archant

A homeless alcoholic couple were banned from their usual sleeping spots as part of efforts to "tidy up the town centre".

Caroline Twyford, 38, and Raymond Whittaker, 50, had been asked to leave Great Yarmouth town centre after being seen on Marine Parade drinking alcohol in public on June 20.

However, on June 22, officers saw the couple on Regent Road, putting them in breach of the ban.

Twyford and Whittaker appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, July 24, where they pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the direction.

Anne-Marie Sheridan, mitigating for both, said: "Until two weeks ago, they had been homeless for over 12 months as a result of the changes to Universal Credit. They were evicted because their landlord hadn't been given money for the rent.

"There was what can only be described as a concerted effort to remove people who were drinking to get them off the streets in the town centre to clean the place up.

"We had a number of people coming into the office asking what it meant and what they had done wrong.

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"Whittaker was told he was drinking in an 'anti-social way' on his dispersal notice, and on her notice it says she was drinking in the park.

"The police were tidying up the town centre."

The couple have now moved into a new property on Marine Parade after being homeless for more than a year.

Ms Sheridan said: "That is where they usually slept because they felt safer there because it is well lit.

"They have slept on Regent Road before and been urinated on and spat at.

"They are homeless alcoholics and police have determined that to be alarming or distressing for the tourists visiting Great Yarmouth.

"The irony is, if they had their new home on Marine Parade at the time, they couldn't have been given the dispersal notice."

The pair were both handed a conditional discharge for six months, with both Twyford and Whittaker being ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and court costs of £40.

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