A MAN who was homeless cannot remember damaging a nursery fence, due to his intake of heroin.

Terry Melvin, of Wessex Road, Salisbury, must complete 50 hours of unpaid work for this act of criminal damage, as well as possessing a screwdriver and drunk and disorderly behaviour.

On Friday, February 12, prosecutor Keith Ballinger told Salisbury Magistrates Court that on March 30 last year Melvin was seen urinating into a bin, to which he responded that he had a bladder condition and toilets were closed.

Pleading guilty to drunk and disorderly behaviour in a public place, the Cheese Market in Salisbury, the court heard that during the interaction with police Melvin had “glazed over eyes”, his speech was slurred, and “he was not happy he was arrested”.

He also had a screwdriver, which he “needed to protect himself as he was sleeping rough”.

On May 7 Melvin damaged a fence belonging to First Steps Nursery on Brown Street, during which he was seen walking away with a panel.

Mr Ballinger told Salisbury Magistrates that due to the defendant’s long term use of heroin, Melvin did not remember the damages.

The 47-year-old has previous convictions, including possession of a knife in 2000.

Jonathan Lewis, defending, described Melvin as “vulnerable” as he entered the first Covid-19 lockdown homeless, as there “could not have been a worse time to be homeless”.

He added that Melvin’s screwdriver was for protection and “defensive use”, when he was rendered homeless for a number of weeks and had lost his phone.

Also with a medical condition, Melvin was “worried about [Covid-19] effects and infection”, because if he caught the virus it would be “a matter of life and death”, Mr Lewis added.

The court heard that the defendant did have a drug addiction and had previously sold drugs to fund this addiction, but he now lives in a hostel and his life is “back on track”.

In final mitigation Mr Lewis said Melvin is not a person of violence, and the possession of a screwdriver “seemed a cry for help” - “not an article normally associated with gang crime”

With a prison sentence deemed “unjust”, because of the gap between the previous and current offences, Melvin was ordered to complete 50 hours of unpaid work and must attend 10 rehabilitation requirement days.

He was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £32 and costs of £50.

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