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Military imposter and beggar jailed for stealing handbags at Christmas charity meal

PUBLISHED: 12:34 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:03 06 December 2017

Ian Starkings, 36,  of Pottergate in Norwich, has been banned from begging. Photo: Norfolk Police

Ian Starkings, 36, of Pottergate in Norwich, has been banned from begging. Photo: Norfolk Police

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A thief who stole handbags belonging to three elderly ladies at a charity Christmas meal has been jailed.

Ian Starkings, 36, of Pottergate in Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday and was jailed for 22 weeks and banned from begging anywhere in Norfolk.

He was also handed a three-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) for persistently begging in public and the bag thefts which happened last year.

Starkings was known as a persistent beggar who pretended he was in the military to try and get cash out of members of the public.

He was found guilty of stealing handbags at the Open Christmas event at the Marina Centre in Great Yarmouth last Christmas.

The Open Christmas Great Yarmouth event held at the Marina Centre.

Picture: James Bass

The Open Christmas Great Yarmouth event held at the Marina Centre. Picture: James Bass

One of the organisers of the event David Minister, 62, said they are having to pay for security at this year’s event to prevent something similar happening again.

The charitable event offers a free lunch to homeless, vulnerable or lonely people in the town who might otherwise miss out.

Mr Minister added: “We got to pay for it because we can’t have that happening again. It hasn’t happened before but the ladies were devastated when they found out their bags were gone.

“The police had to break in to one of their home’s on Christmas day because her bag had her keys in it.

The Open Christmas Great Yarmouth event held at the Marina Centre.

Picture: James Bass The Open Christmas Great Yarmouth event held at the Marina Centre. Picture: James Bass

“It put a bit of a dampener on what was supposed to be a nice day out for them.”

The court heard how Starkings had been caught begging in public while falsely claiming he was in the military on several occasions despite being warned about his behaviour by police.

The provisions set out in the Criminal Behaviour Order state that Starkings must:

• Not beg or present to beg for money, cigarettes or any other item (by sign, word gesture or positioning yourself in a way that would suggest this) within the county of Norfolk;

• Not to enter Great Yarmouth (defined on the revised map) between the hours of 9.30am - 4pm and 5pm to 9am;

• Not to be in possession of any sign which would suggest that you were in the military.

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