A MAN from Birkenhead has been banned from begging in Wirral.

Gareth Lambert, aged 28, was given a five-year Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning him from approaching anyone in Wirral to ask for money, cigarettes or to use their mobile phone.

Magistrates have also forbidden him from causing harassment, alarm or distress to any member of the public and have given him an exclusion zone.

The no-go area includes areas bounded by Union Street, Sidney Road, Allerton Road, Pearson Road, Argyle Street South, the flyover and Cambletown Road. This incorporates Rock Retail Park which is the area most affected.

Lambert, of Oriel Road, received his ASBO last Friday after he was sentenced at Wirral Magistrates' Court on March 12 for an offence of begging at Claughton Road.

Neighbourhood Inspector Duncan Swan said the ASBO had been imposed to curb Lambert's offending and protect the community.

Inspector Swan said: "Gareth Lambert is a prolific beggar and the ASBO was brought about due to the high number of complaints received from members of the public.

"He often targets women with young children or the elderly, and would follow them causing intimidation and distress.

“He used a plethora of reasons why he needed money, often carrying a petrol can as a prop.

“He could sound very convincing but would frequently turn hostile.

"He persistently targeted vulnerable victims despite constant warnings and continued to loiter in car parks and shopping areas making victims feel intimidated."

He added: "The public need to be aware of Gareth Lambert's persistent offending and the conditions that the court has imposed on him.

"If anyone sees him begging, causing intimidation or entering his exclusion zone I would urge them to pass that information on to the police.

"Breaching the conditions of an ASBO is a serious matter and I hope that this sends out a strong message to other persistent offenders that the courts and the police will not tolerate a small number of individuals affecting the wider community."