A persistent Gloucester beggar has been handed an anti-social behaviour injunction in an effort to curb her behaviour.
Sonya Kirby, aged 42 and of Barton Street, was given the order after numerous reports to the police that she was loitering in the doorways of local businesses, and begging for money from members of the public.
Witness accounts indicated that she would then enter a nearby gambling shop to spend the money she obtained.
The civil injunction order imposed by the courts forbids Sonya (whether by herself or by instructing or encouraging or permitting any other person) from:
1. Engaging in conduct that causes or is capable of causing alarm or harassment or distress to any person within the city of Gloucester.
2. Begging at any time within the city of Gloucester.
3. Obstructing or partially obstructing the highway by sitting, standing or squatting on the footpath or street, or public highway within the city of Gloucester, with any receptacle for collecting money or with her arm/hand outstretched.
The order remains in force until 4pm on 5 May 2023.
The case was brought against Sonya by Solace, a joint team of officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucester City Council.
Solace officer Matt Roberts said: “This sort of aggressive begging puts off members of the public who want to enjoy local businesses.
“In the aftermath of restrictions on businesses in recent years, it is more important than ever that we address this nuisance behaviour.
“We hope that this order goes some way towards protecting members of the public from Sonya’s attempts to exploit their kindness.”
Inspector Si Motala, from the Gloucester Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Tackling anti-social behaviour within the city centre is a priority for us. We will work with our partners including Project Solace and City Safe to tackle those who persistently cause problems.
“Kirby’s behaviour has had a significant impact on the businesses of Gloucester and those visiting the city. This injunction shows we will not tolerate her behaviour anymore.”
Steve Lindsay, from Gloucester City Safe, said: “Sonya is one of Gloucester’s most prolific beggars, who causes harassment, alarm and distress on a daily basis to visitors to our city with her aggressive begging. A lot of background work has been done to try and support Sonya; however, she has failed to engage or listen to the advice therefore enforcement action was required.
“The partnership work of the local neighbourhood policing team and Solace has been fantastic in obtaining yet another injunction for one of our most prolific offenders."
Anyone witnessing Sonya breaching her injunction are asked to contact the police on 101 or the Solace team on 01452 396396.