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Squatter 'leader's' drug sentencing postponed.

Byline: DAVID HOLMES david.holmes01@reachplc.com @Sherlock1968

ASQUATTER has admitted possessing the Class B drug Spice with intent to supply but sentencing was postponed after it emerged the prosecution wish to banish him from Chester for five years.

Wayne Lammond, 34, of no fixed address, has led a series of what he called 'protest squats' at empty commercial premises alleging inadequate support and accommodation by the council.

Lammond pleaded guilty to the drugs offence when he appeared in custody at Chester Crown Court.

An earlier hearing heard plain clothes police officers carried out a stop and search on a walkway to Asda near Clifton Drive, Blacon, last September.

It was agreed the case was too serious to be dealt with by magistrates as the starting point for someone convicted of such an offence would be a custodial sentence of 12 months.

Defence barrister Phil Clemo opened the crown court hearing by revealing the prosecution intended to apply for a Criminal Antisocial Behaviour Order (CrASBO) but there had been insufficient time to discuss this with his client.

Aspects of the application, were not accepted.

"It potentially excludes him from the town in which he lives. In my submission it merits more scrutiny than can been given to it this afternoon," added Mr Clemo, who described the terms of the CrASBO as 'draconian'.

"He's spoken up on behalf of those in Chester who are homeless. As a result of that, he has been a thorn in the local establishment's side."

Judge Sarah Johnston said a 'holistic approach' was required which meant the sentencing for the drugs offence should not be separated from a decision over the application for a five-year CrASBO - most of which concerned matters that did not relate to the indictment.

She said the police evidence was that Lammond's behaviour amounted to causing harassment, alarm or distress. On the other hand, a councillor had spoken positively about the defendant.

The case was adjourned until Friday, March 13, when Lammond will go before Judge Stephen Everett, Recorder of Chester, for sentencing. He was remanded in custody. ? In a separate matter, at the last hearing Lammond pleaded guilty to stealing a Primark carrier bag containing a purse and at least PS100 cash when the female victim and her family were in a 'very busy' McDonald's in Foregate Street, Chester, on January 4. CCTV footage showed the group had relocated to a more convenient table.

After eating his food, Lammond picked up the Primark bag at the same time as his own rucksack.

Mr Farnan, defending, described the theft as 'purely opportunistic' - there was no suggestion of planning or targeting.

Magistrates sentenced the defendant to four weeks in jail and ordered him to pay PS130 compensation when released from custody.

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Author:DAVID HOLMES david.holmes01@reachplc.com @Sherlock1968
Publication:Chester Chronicle (Chester, England)
Date:Feb 13, 2020
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