Formal warning issued to homeless man living in Sidmouth

Blackdown House, EDDC's new Honiton HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton

Blackdown House, EDDC's new Honiton HQ. Picture: Callum Lawton - Credit: Archant

A homeless man in Sidmouth has been issued with a formal warning in a bid to crack down on antisocial behaviour.

The man, who has been in the town for more than a year has refused help, say the authorities.

He has been given three weeks to comply with a community protection order, although the district council has not provided details of the order.

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: “Our efforts to assist this homeless gentleman have been ongoing for a number of months and we are continuing to keep in regular contact with him and to provide as much support as possible.

“There has been the need for us to liaise closely with a number of partner agencies to ensure we can offer suitable support and a thorough multi-agency approach has been taken to the situation which remains sensitive and ongoing. However, despite all of us trying our best to help him, he continues to reject offers of help.

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“Our offers of accommodation have so far been refused and regretfully on that basis, following appropriate professional assessments of his health and wellbeing, as a last resort we have now used our legal powers to tackle persistent antisocial behaviour to give him a formal warning. We have now begun enforcement action in the form of a community protection order, as well as a statutory notice to remedy that situation.

“He now has three weeks to either comply with our requirements or to formally appeal to the courts.

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“If he does exercise that right of appeal, our hands will be tied until the rights and wrongs of the matter have been decided by the court. We hope he will comply with the notice leading to a timely resolution but if he does not, ourselves and partner services will again be on hand to offer him appropriate help and support during the enforcement process.”

Councillor Cathy Gardner said it is frustrating that the system is not designed to help people in situations like this.

“There are so many different people that have been working as hard a possible, behind the scenes, to help – the police, the council, the housing team, Gateway homeless charity, mental health team, health care professionals,” she said.

“The system tries its best to help homeless people but you cant help force people to have help if they don’t want it.

“What is frustrating is that the system isn’t set up to deal with these types of situations.”

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