A beggar from Runcorn has been ordered to stop causing a nuisance.

Clifford Smith, 48, of Grangeway Court, was handed a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order at North Cheshire Magistrates' Court last Tuesday, October 13.

A Cheshire police spokesman said Smith has more than 50 convictions, including for drugs, theft and public order offences.

The force's Halton Problem Solving Team had applied for the CBO.

It bans him from doing any of the following in Cheshire: acting in an antisocial manner causing or likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress; congregating in a group of two or more people in such a manner; and begging.

Smith briefly became the focus of a festive outpouring of social media sympathy in winter 2018 with a slew of posts flooding Facebook reporting heartfelt gestures from members of the public such as children giving him a Christmas card.

Following the CBO hearing, PC Chris Nicholls, of the Runcorn Beat Management Team, said: “Applied for separately to prosecutions for criminal offences, Criminal Behaviour Orders are sought once all reasonable avenues of resolution have been explored regarding persistent offenders.

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“In Clifford Smith’s case, he has a long list of convictions and his unacceptable behaviour has had a significant detrimental effect on those who have been subjected to it and on the community in general.

“He has persistently shown no consideration at all for the effects his offending has had on others.

Clifford Smith, 48, in custody.

“There comes a point when you have to say enough is enough and take additional action to protect the community.

“I welcome the court’s decision to impose a three-year CBO on Smith.

“I hope that it provides him with a wake-up call to change his ways and deters him from committing further offences.

“I also hope it reassures the people of Runcorn that we will not tolerate such behaviour and that we will use whatever powers we have at our disposal to ensure that the town is a pleasant place to live, work and visit.”

The police spokesman said Smith has been made aware that it is a criminal offence to breach the terms of a CBO.

Breaching a CBO carries a maximum sentence of five years.

David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: “This successful CBO application sends a clear message that persistent criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in Runcorn.

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“These preventative orders with strict restrictions are one of numerous tools that Cheshire Constabulary uses in a bid to improve our communities.

“They are having the desired effect of reducing offending, the number of victims of crime and the demand on the police and I hope that this continues.”

Anyone who encounters Smith breaching his CBO is urged to contact Cheshire Constabulary on 101.