‘If you can drink you can pay fine’

Asbo yob Lee Darby
Asbo yob Lee Darby

AN Asbo yob laughed as a magistrate told him: “If you can afford to go out drinking you can afford to pay a court fine.”

Lee Darby was brought before Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court in custody after being arrested for boozing in a pub in a street from which he was banned.

The jobless 24-year-old is subject to an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) banning him from using threatening or abusive behaviour in public or from entering an area around the town’s Church Street.

But when the smirking yob was caught in the toilets of the Princess Helena pub, in Whitby Street, off Hartlepool’s Church Street – which comes under the area he is prohibited from – he was arrested and charged with breaching the terms of his Asbo.

He pleaded guilty to the offence, which happened on January 29 and chairman of the bench Monica Arthur decided to fine him £65, ordered him to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

But when she asked Darby how he could pay, he started to laugh and told her that he had no money and that he would have “to go sign on or something”.

Mrs Arthur told him: “If you can afford to go out drinking you can afford to pay a court fine and pay £5 a week,” to which Darby replied: “I’ll have to stop going out drinking then to pay you £5 a week then won’t I?”

Prosecuting, Lilian Atkinson said Darby was made subject to the 12-month Asbo order in November last year after a string of offences which prevents him from entering the area bounded by and including Surtees Street, Mainsforth Terrace, Church Street, Stockton Street, Upper Church Street, Church Square and Tower Street between the hours of 7pm-7am.

But officers were tipped off by an anonymous member of the public that he was breaching the order by being in The Princess Helena pub, in Whitby Street, drinking.

She said: “Police found the defendant in the toilets of the premises and he was subsequently arrested and charged with this offence.”

Mitigating, Paul Haswell said this was his client’s first breach of the Asbo and it was only down to an “mistake”.

He said: “Mr Darby believed that the street names listed were the streets he wasn’t allowed to enter. He didn’t know it was the area within those streets that he was also banned from.

“It was a mistake that Mr Darby made.”

He added: “He was in the public house having a quiet drink with friends.”

Darby, who lives in Tommy McGuigan Grove, in Hartlepool, was released from custody following the hearing.

l Mail view: Page 8