Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Asking to Be Jailed Was My Last Option' of; Homeless BRADLEY TELLS OF LIFE ON STREETS

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Asking to Be Jailed Was My Last Option' of; Homeless BRADLEY TELLS OF LIFE ON STREETS

Article excerpt

Byline: FELICITY COLLINSON @EveningGazette

IMAGINE your existence being so cold, grim and hopeless that you ask a judge to send you to prison? This is exactly what happened to Teesside's Bradley Grimes.

Bradley hit headlines, and captured hearts, earlier this year after he ended up in the dock at Teesside Crown Court.

The judge in the case took pity on the 23-year-old and demanded in open court that Bradley be given accommodation and his welfare taken care of.

Because it wasn't only his housing situation that was in a mess, so is his health.

He has a brain tumour, and autism, and, in his own words, the mental age of a "young child".

Thankfully he now has a roof over his head in supported accommodation.

He became homeless at just 17, and had to beg from the people of Middlesbrough to simply survive.

But he was banned from begging and sleeping in shop doorways in Middlesbrough when he was given an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order).

He was unable to find work and frequently turned to asking passers-by for money or food, he told the BBC.

But this led to Middlesbrough Council giving him the ASBO which came with a condition banning him from "loitering" outside business premises.

Bradley says it prevented him from "basically sitting outside a shop" and sleeping in doorways for warmth, and meant he was continually arrested.

"CCTV picks you up and they dispatch either the police or street wardens. If police come, you're arrested," explains Bradley.

He said he attracted the authorities' attention for resting against a bus stop.

"It got to the stage where they were locking me up once or twice a day, for a period of a few months.

"I was in (prison) pretty much all weekend, near enough every weekend. I can't even sit on a public bench without being locked up. I have to keep moving."

I can't even public bench being locked to keep " Frustrated at his situation, he decided to seek help - albeit in an unusual form.

Bradley When in court, charged with breaching a four-month suspended jail sentence - something he admitted to - he asked the judge to send him to prison. …

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