Ribble Valley ‘too posh to have tramps’?

Gavin Whalley arriving at court in Blackburn
Gavin Whalley arriving at court in Blackburn

A homeless beggar who has become a familiar figure in Clitheroe town centre over recent months tapped up a police officer who was walking to work.

Blackburn magistrates heard the police were now seeking to obtain a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO) against 41-year-old Gavin Whalley which would prohibit him from entering the Ribble Valley.

Gavin Whalley aat Blackburn Magistrates Court

Gavin Whalley aat Blackburn Magistrates Court

But defence solicitor Mr Andrew Church-Taylor said he would be strongly opposing that ban.

“It would appear the police perception is that people in the Ribble Valley are too posh to have tramps,” said Mr Church –Taylor.

“Another leg of the CRASBO application is that he should be banned from begging, but that is already a criminal offence.”

Whalley, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to begging in a public place. He was fined £50 with a £20 victim surcharge, which was set against time already spent in custody.

Miss Catherine Allan (prosecuting) said Whalley had previous convictions for begging in a public place.

On October 9th a police officer in civilian clothing was walking through Clitheroe town centre on his way to work when he passed Whalley, who asked if could he spare some change.

“The officer asked what he had said and Whalley said ‘Anything you can spare’,” said Miss Allan.

Mr Church-Taylor said Whalley, who uses elbow crutches, was “something of a character”.

“He comes from a good family who still live in the Langho area,” said the solicitor.

“Drugs came into his life and he has declined since then. He can now be seen quite frequently around Whalley and Clitheroe and, on occasions, he asks for charity.”

Mr Church-Taylor said Whalley was not aggressive and simply asked for spare change.

“He is a man who depends on charity and is grateful for anything that he is given,” said Mr Church-Taylor.

The application for a CRASBO against Whalley will be heard on December 19th.