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PROLIFIC offender Ian Pounds has had an anti-social behaviour order extended for two years to ban him from entering the town centre.

Pounds, 43, of Sheppard Street, has been known to police for some time after causing a nuisance in the town by begging aggressively and selling items he takes from nearby bins, and had anti-social behaviour orders imposed in 2009 and 2012.

After a spate of incidents in February, he has been banned from entering the town centre for two years and may not enter any gambling premises in the town for a period of three months, to be reviewed in June.

Tony Nowogrodski, defending, said Pounds had always struggled with gambling, and would inevitably break the order.

He said: “At age 16 Pounds began to suffer from schizophrenia. That is now being managed. About that time he developed a gambling addiction, and that is something that has been ongoing for a long period of time.

“He was shoplifting small things from shops at the time to fund his addiction on fruit machines. Matters became worse when he went into custody on a number of occasions.

“Over the last few years the ASBO was made against the background where he discovered there were skips round the back of Havelock Street. Pounds would fish the items out of the skips and hawk them around town.

“In the past a town centre ban was made against Pounds as part of an ASBO. Every time he gets tired and walks through the town centre, that is a breach and a serious matter. He lives just on the cusp of the town centre and has no means of transport. Every time he leaves the front door he is tempted.”

District Judge Simon Cooper, sentencing, said: “There is evidence here of an obsession with obtaining money in the town centre in Swindon by anti-social means, including aggressive begging and targeting lone women at cash points.

“Pounds has admitted that he steals to obtain money so that he can gamble. The behaviour he has exhibited to individuals in the town centre amounts to clear incidents of anti-social behaviour.

“Pounds has not sought to slow down the many incidents he commits. He is capable of understanding what is happening to him, and his behaviour is unacceptable.”

Addressing Pounds personally, he said: “You have to understand that what you do is unacceptable to the community, and they object to your behaviour in the town. There are only certain ways the court can prevent you from doing this.

“I have done this to protect the people of Swindon from you. Some of them are frightened by your behaviour.

“I have made it harder for you to gamble in Swindon so you may be able to see some sense. There are other ways to enjoy life in this otherwise splendid town. You should find more constructive ways to spend your time.”

PC Paul Bezzant, of the town centre neighbourhood policing team, said he hoped the order would help tackle the issue.

“In all these things we fear there may be elements of displacement, but this will hopefully tackle the problems we are finding in the town centre,” he said.

“The opportunity for Ian to offend in the town centre is all there for him. We hope that while this may not solve his problems, it will reduce anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

“This is his third order, and is probably the most all-encompassing we have had, so I am hoping it will be the most effective.”