A BUSKER has been fined after asking people for cash when he was banned from doing so.

Jake Thorpe is subject to a community protection notice meaning he is not allowed to loiter on pavements in Colchester town centre, nor ask for money from passersby or sit within close proximity to cash machines.

The 43-year-old was handed the notice in August but was caught the next day playing his guitar near the Scheregate Steps, Colchester.

Thorpe, now of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, had his case open with a few coins inside and was strumming the instrument intermittently.

Officers arrived to move him on and Thorpe said: “Do you really think I care? You’re a mug.”

A week later, Thorpe was sitting with a woman in Head Street, Colchester, near the cash point close enough that he was breaking the rules set out to him.

Thorpe, who has 49 convictions for 93 previous offences, admitted two breaches of his community protection notice at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

Matthew Swash, mitigating, said Thorpe was not meaning any harm and believed he had his card marked by the police.

He said: “He has been in Colchester for 15 years and has never been subject to anything like this.

“He has been street homeless for many years but has now found himself accommodation.

“It is not long term and not ideal.

“He was given this notice and thought ‘There are so many beggars around Colchester, why me?’.

“At no point was he nasty or aggressive to any members of the public.

“On the second occasion he was near the Royal Bank of Scotland where, unfortunately, homeless people do gather.

“He does not understand why he would be targeted - normal life for him is drudgery and he is trying to get by.”

Magistrates only had power to fine Thorpe and ordered him to pay a financial penalty of £120.

He must also pay a £32 victim surcharge and £48 costs.

A hearing into whether Thorpe is made subject to a criminal behaviour order will be held next month.

If it is granted, Thorpe could be jailed for any breaches, however, the court heard he is likely to contest the making of any legislation.