A MAN appeared in court yesterday after he approached a man on the street and asked for £1 to buy a cup of coffee.

Last year, Ian Pounds, 40, of Amethyst Guest House, Sheppard Street, was charged with theft from skips and causing harassment and distress to others in the town centre by aggressive selling and begging on a number of occasions between January and November.

He was issued with an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) in December 2009 which prevented him from entering or being in the town centre, approaching anyone, other than relatives or personal friends, to sell goods or beg anywhere in the borough of Swindon.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pounds, was arrested in Cavendish Square after he approached a motorist and asked for £1 so he could buy himself a cup of coffee to warm up.

He pleaded guilty to the Asbo breach when he appeared before magistrates on Thursday.

Tony Nowogrodski, defending, said Pounds had a complicated background, which included being diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 16.

“He has also got a gambling addiction, it is not a very straightforward history,” he said.

“Over the course of the last few years, he has been unwell with schizophrenia.

“In the main, his offending has always been linked with the town centre and that was the focus of the Asbo.”

Mr Nowogrodski explained that Pounds had been to visit a friend in Cavendish Square and had to walk home.

“He left and had no money on him at all and he had to walk home,” he said.

“It was a bitterly cold day and he simply wanted to have a cup of coffee.

“He approached a motorist and asked if he could give him £1. He made a full and frank admission and has been in custody overnight.

“It is a very sad case really. Of course, it would have been better if he didn’t ask for the money but nevertheless he has had a night in the cells to reflect on his behaviour.”

Pounds was fined £85 plus £15 victim surcharge but magistrates agreed that his time spent in custody would act in lieu of the payment.