A homeless man has been left with a court bill of more than £100 after admitting to begging in the streets.

Kevin James John Bigg, 33, appeared before magistrates in Carlisle yesterday and told the court he had been living on the city's streets and was "now being punished for being homeless".

He also said he'd had no help from any of the authorities in helping find suitable accommodation.

Yet he was brought before the courts charged with four counts of begging in a public place.

Bigg was seen by a police officer on September 29 sitting on the steps of the Citadel, in English Street, with a sleeping bag and blanket or backpack.

The court was told that an officer told him he could not loiter or beg there and was then handed a map of the city and informed he could not beg in any of the areas on the map.

Bigg was then later spotted on October 20 in the Hardwicke Circus, again begging.

He told the court he was not begging but one child threw two £1 coins into his sleeping bag near the Citadel, but he did not ask for any money.

Bigg pleaded guilty to begging or gathering alms for the offences on September 29 and October 20 and like charges on October 16 and 18.

He then told the court: "It’s a bit of a joke I haven’t committed a crime I’m just homeless.”

Magistrates conditionally discharged the case for six months and ordered Bigg to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £20.