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Spice user banned from city centre after persistent abuse and threats to public

A Spice addict who threatened members of the public, begged aggressively and took drugs in front of shops has been given a two-year injunction banning him from the city centre and a suspended sentence

Priestley Cleworth, 24, of no fixed address, was rough sleeping but persistently refused to engage with council homelessness services who tried to offer him support. As well as the restrictions the order requires Cleworth to attend Manchester Integrated Drug and Alcohol Services for an assessment to help him get treatment for his drugs use. Failure to do so will be a breach of the Injunction.

Cleworth appeared at Manchester Civil Justice Centre on 15 May 2017 and was handed a two year Injunction Order preventing him from entering the city centre. Cleworth was also given seven 14 day suspended sentences – one for each breach of a pre-existing interim Injunction. These will run alongside each other if triggered by further breaches, meaning he would serve a minimum period of 7 days in jail.

The court heard that Cleworth had been responsible for a string of incidents in which he had been abusive and aggressive to people in the city centre.

In January 2017 Cleworth was issued with a Community Protection Notice Warning excluding him from Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre. The warning was issued following Cleworth aggressively begging, openly smoking Spice and being verbally abusive to the public, shop staff and police community support officers in the area.

The warning was ignored by Cleworth and he was given a Community Protection Notice on 28 January 2017.

On the 13 May 2017 Cleworth was again verbally abusive, threatening the manager of the NCP car park at the Printworks. This incident led to Cleworth being given an Interim Injunction Order – extending the area he was prohibited from to include the entire city centre.

Cleworth defied the order seven times and was arrested in each instance.

During his court appearance Cleworth admitted to all of the breaches and did not contest the interim injunction. He was given a two year Injunction Order banning him from Manchester city centre and a 14 day suspended sentence for each breach.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council lead member for crime and community safety, said: “The Council and partner organisations in the city's homeless charter are committed to providing homeless people in the city with the help and support they need to get off the streets and move forward in their lives, including treatment to deal with any substance misuse issues.

"But we cannot and will not tolerate individuals abusing and harassing members of the public while refusing all offers of support. Taking court action is a last resort. But in this case we were left with little option but to do so to make Cleworth confront both his behaviour and his drug use and to protect the public." 

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