‘Unjust’ to jail squatter for abuse

Scarborough Magistrates' Court
Scarborough Magistrates' Court

A squatter who breached a suspended sentence by threatening to beat up a policeman has been spared prison again – after magistrates claimed it would be “unjust” to jail him.

When Scarborough’s Marcus Cook was handed a two-year suspended sentence in 2014 for a domestic incident he was warned he’d be jailed if he offended during that period.

And the 46-year-old did, by pinching electricity for his abode and telling an off-duty officer: “I’m going to do you – you better run”.

However at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, the bench felt he threatened the policeman because of “extreme circumstances” – which allowed him to avoid jail yet again.

The decision was made 
after the bench heard pleas not to jail him as the offences, on February 7, were committed just weeks before the order was due to end.

The crimes occurred when the officer spotted Cook clad in a council-style hi-vis jacket, and thinking he was a fellow public servant, tried to greet him - only to be met with a volley of foul-mouthed abuse.

His tirade sparked a search for Cook. He was tracked down to the property he was squatting in where police found him using stolen electricity to power a TV.

At Monday’s hearing, benefit claimant Cook told the court he was now trying to get Scarborough Council to give him the Esplanade building so he can build surfboards.

Cook pleaded guilty to stealing the electricity and using threatening language, while his solicitor Robert Vining admitted his client expected the crimes to land him behind bars.

“The defendant is in some jeopardy,” he said.

“He didn’t realise it was a police officer - if he thought it 
was he wouldn’t have said anything.”

An offence committed while on a suspended sentence would normally automatically trigger the jail term unless there were exceptional circumstances.

But topping up his existing court debt with a £40 fine, the bench told the joiner: “I have no doubt that when you came here today you thought you were going into immediate custody but we are not going to send you there.”