A NUISANCE beggar who is banned from entering every Network Rail-owned railway station in England and Wales has been jailed for more than three years after he robbed a vulnerable man of cash.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Brian Mains approached the victim for money on the pretext he would give him it back.

But after realising he was an “easy target” he then threatened the man and stole more than £600 from him over a number of days in October last year.

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In doing so Mains, of Horden Road, Billingham, breached an Asbo he was given in September 2011 which prohibits him from asking for money from the public.

The Asbo also prevents him from entering railway stations and he is not allowed to enter either Darlington or Middlesbrough.

Mains, 30, a crack cocaine user, admitted robbery, two counts of theft and harassment. 

The defendant had previously admitted a burglary on a separate indictment after tricking his way into a sheltered housing complex in Darlington on August 10 last year and stealing £40 from the jacket pocket of another vulnerable man.

Prosecuting, Rachel Masters also described how Mains had stolen 50 books of raffle tickets from a church in Middlesbrough and attempted to sell them door-to-door in Billingham, before police were alerted.

Nigel Soppitt, for Mains, who has 23 previous convictions for a variety of offences, said: “He is a thorough nuisance on occasions and people cross the street to avoid him.”

Mains, who breached a suspended sentence by appearing in court, had been on bail when he committed the Darlington burglary.

He was jailed for three years, eight months in total.