Man addicted to inhaling gas in court after returning to ‘safe place’

Andrew Francis was jailed for 32 months. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Andrew Francis was jailed for 32 months. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A man who has been banned from one of Norwich's busiest streets for inhaling butane gas in public breached an order banning him from the area which he regards as his 'safe place'.

Andrew Francis, 39, has been made the subject of a criminal behaviour order (CBO) banning him from entering parts of the city where he consumed the gas.

Norwich Magistrates Court heard Francis was found sitting outside the former Mattressman premises in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, on March 7 and March 10 this year.

Anna Crayford, prosecuting, said Francis was banned from entering Prince of Wales Road as part of a CBO imposed last month which banned him from parts of the city.

Miss Crayford said the CBO was imposed as Francis had been 'using the gas in public view' with the order designed to prevent the 'distress that causes for members of the public'.

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Miss Crayford said on both occasions Francis was in the same location with the butane with him on the second occasion, on March 10.

Francis, who has accommodation at Bishop Bridge House in Norwich, admitted the breaches of his CBO on Wednesday (March 11) when he appeared before city magistrates, via videolink from Wymondham Police Investigation Centre (PIC).

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Julie Adams, mitigating, said Francis has an 'entrenched addiction' to Butane gas going back more than 24 years.

He had not been consuming butane on either occasion but had been in the area as she said it was 'his safe place' where people would go to find him.

Miss Adams said Francis has an 'entrenched' problem but was seeking help for his problem and had reduced his butane consumption.

She said Francis was not permitted to consume the butane gas at Bishop Bridge House and had to 'go out' to do it.

The court heard Francis has a further court hearing on April 15 when his CBO will be further looked at.

Francis was sentenced to one day's detention for the offences.

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