A NOTORIOUS Carlisle nuisance who deliberately gets himself locked up because he is homeless has flouted his criminal behaviour order - for the 178th time.

Andrew Bell, 42, whose criminal record shows he has committed 178 offences, is banned from the city centre between the hours of 6pm and 7am.

Despite knowing this is a key condition of the criminal behaviour order, Bell has repeatedly and deliberately flouted the restriction by walking in to the city centre, finding police officers, and asking them to arrest him.

At an earlier court hearing, Bell admitted his latest breach.

Prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told Carlisle Crown Court how at 11.45pm on October 5 Bell spotted police standing outside the Open Mind bar and cafe in English Street and approached them. After checking, one told Bell he should not be in the area.

“I hate having my freedom taken away,” replied Bell.

“I will kick off with the police and the judge; it’s not fair.” He was duly arrested, but went quietly, said Mr Rogerson. He later told officers he breached his order because he is stupid.

“He knew he should not have been there,” said Mr Rogerson, stressing that it was not a serious offence but it was aggravated by the scale of offending, this being his 78th breach.

John Smith, for Bell, said: “He’s released [from prison], has no accommodation, so he telephones the police and says can you arrest me as I haven’t anywhere to go.

“It’s happened many times.”

The lawyer said that on this occasion there had been no disturbance, no abuse, and none of the aggravating features that have characterised some of Bell’s offending in the past.

The lawyer said that Carlisle City Council had agreed Bell could move into its John Street Hostel if there is a place available when he is released from jail. “He wants to sort out his mental health,” added Mr Smith.

“It’s not accurate to say that the authorities don’t help him; but he does not help himself. From his perspective, he’s left to fend for himself.”

Judge Nicholas Barker, who noted Mr Smith’s eloquent mitigation, noted that Bell had already served just over a month in jail while on remand.

He imposed a four month jail term, urging Bell to take advantage of the help that is currently available to him from various organisations. In recent years, Bell has repeatedly committed offences which have included threats to shop staff.

On one occasion, he threatened to "rip out" a prosecuting lawyer's throat.