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Saturday, 12 July 2014

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Cumbrian man in court for 68th time jailed for not paying £6 taxi fare

A MAN making his 68th appearance in court has been jailed – for failing to pay a £6.90 taxi fare.

Stuart Smith, 40, had previously been given a 12-month suspended prison sentence after being caught on a Carlisle street with a 7in carving knife stuffed up his sleeve.

And he was back at the city’s crown court on Friday for breaching the terms of that sentence by making off without paying for the taxi and for failing to undergo the treatment he had been ordered to receive for his abuse of alcohol.

Smith – who, the judge observed, had clearly been drinking and was “barely in a fit state” for his court appearance – was ordered to serve nine months of the sentence which had been suspended, in addition to two weeks for failing to pay the taxi fare.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told the court that Smith, of Beaumont Road, Currock, Carlisle, had been arrested in the early hours of Boxing Day 2011 after a police officer spotted him trying to throw away the knife he had with him during a “rowdy” incident in Boundary Road, Currock.

For that he was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence in June last year.

The conditions of that sentence were that he should keep out of trouble for two years and attend regular alcohol rehabilitation sessions with probation staff.

But he had broken those conditions, Mr Rogerson said, by having to be sent home because he was so drunk when he arrived at the probation offices.

And he had also committed a further offence by failing to pay the fare for the taxi he hired on October 12 to take him to the Co-op in Blackwell Road.

His excuse for that, the court heard, was that the previous day the woman he lived with had taken all his money.

Judge Paul Batty QC told Smith that because of his abuse of alcohol, probation officers had said they could do nothing more for him.

“You have an appalling record of offences for dishonesty and drunkenness,” he told him. “You turned up at the probation offices so drunk you had to be turned away because you were in no fit state to understand anything.

“And here you are today and it’s perfectly apparent that you have taken drink. You’re barely in a fit state to be here.”

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