Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Don't treat prison like a hotel, Carlisle criminal told

A prolific criminal has been told not to treat prison like a Travelodge hotel.

Andrew Bell photo
Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell, 37, who has no fixed abode, was told off by the judge after a failed appeal to get himself released from prison.

The court had heard that it was Bell who had arranged for himself to go to prison in the first place.

Bell, once dubbed Carlisle’s number one public nuisance, was given an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) in November, banning him from certain areas of the city centre.

Jonathan Dickinson, prosecuting, told the court that Bell had breached this order by heading to an area he was banned from.

He then called the police to tell them and officers subsequently found him with cans of strong lager.

At Carlisle’s magistrates court – making it his 83rd court appearance – he was jailed for 180 days.

At Carlisle Crown Court yesterday he questioned whether magistrates had the authority to impose this sentence.

Alison Whalley, who was representing Bell, said his crimes had been “low level offending”.

However, Judge Peter Hughes QC, in rejecting Bell’s appeal, said: “He is just using police and prison for his own convenience – he wanted to go to prison and now he wants to come out.”

He refused Bell’s appeal, saying he had “an appalling (criminal) record, particularly for breach of anti-social behaviour orders”.

He pointed out that the magistrates had acted within their powers to impose a 180-day sentence because the Asbo had been imposed by the crown court.

Judge Hughes added: “There is simple message to you, Mr Bell:there is a phenomenal difference between the hotel services provided by the courts and Her Majesty’s Prison, and the hotel services provided by Travelodge and other such companies in the community. You may book in, but the management decides when you are going to leave.”


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