Torquay town-wide Asbo ban on man, 28
A PROLIFIC criminal has been banned from entering Torquay after committing a series of violent offences and thefts.
Police have secured an interim Asbo on Simeon Francis, 28, of Westhill Road, Torquay, who has been convicted of nine offences in the last six months.
It imposes on him a town-wide ban for the next three months. A future hearing will decide whether he should be banned for longer.
Magistrates in Torquay were told the authorities had tried everything to stop Francis and the courts had imposed several short jail terms.
A range of support agencies had tried to help him without success and unless something drastic was done he was 'not going to change'.
Acting Detective Inspector Chris Yarwood, of Torbay CID, told the hearing: "Tremendous efforts have been made to try to help Francis, to support him in this area, to try to find him premises, to help him with various dependency issues and all of these efforts have been ineffective."
The court was told many of Francis' victims were homeless or drug and alcohol dependant.
Two homeless people, who did not want to be named, said he had threatened them.
Douglas Saunders, manager of the Leonard Stocks Centre, a homeless project, said it could do 'nothing more with him' and it was 'fruitless' to continue offering him help when he did not cooperate.
Jamie Holmes, of Shrublands, Torquay's drug and alcohol team, said he was now concerned for his own safety in one-on-one situations.
Police arrived at court with an application to ban Francis from the whole of Devon.
This was rejected by magistrates on the grounds it was not proportionate to his crimes.
Police asked that one of the prohibitions should ban Francis from spitting in public.
It was said he had repeatedly spat at officers while in custody, claiming he had HIV and Hepatitis C.
Francis' solicitor, Alan Parsons, admitted his client was 'not a saint' and had carried out anti-social crimes.
But he said Francis had been given an Asbo banning him from an area of Birmingham in 2004 and that had simply moved the problem to Torquay.
"This is a Nimby application isn't it?" he asked DI Yarwood. "Not in my backyard. To get him out of the area."
DI Yarwood responded: "If you want to change his behaviour you have to break the cycle that's been going on for years now.
"The intention is to stop that behaviour and removing him from this area will help that."
Chairman of the magistrates bench, John Kiddey, told Francis: "It is agreed there is a considerable history of offending by you.
"Given your offending is confined to Torquay and Exeter and not the whole of Devon we feel it would not be proportionate to exclude you from the entire county."
The terms of the Asbo state that Francis is banned from entering Torquay unless he is attending court or meeting his solicitor or the authorities. He is currently in custody.
He is also banned from spitting in public.