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Camborne homeless man carried a rock in a sock as a weapon

By CMJohannaCarr  |  Posted: February 07, 2014

Comments (9)

CARRYING a rock in a sock for protection is not acceptable behaviour, a Camborne homeless man was told by magistrates.

At Truro Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, Steven Forster, 32, of no formal abode, admitted possessing the offensive weapon – a large rock in two socks – on January 8.

Anita Kennett, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Forster was stopped by a police officer in the service lane linking Trelowarren Street and Moor Street and asked if he had anything on him.

He handed the homemade weapon to the officer and said he was living on the streets and used it for protection.

Elliott Moore, defending, said Forster had been threatened twice in the weeks before the offence and that was why he felt he needed protection.

Sentencing Forster to an 18-month conditional discharge, chairman of the bench, Tony Woodhams said: “It cannot be tolerated that you can walk around with a rock in a sock.”

Forster was ordered to pay £20 towards prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Woodhams also ordered the destruction of the rock and the socks.

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  • Toby_Fare  |  February 16 2014, 10:48AM

    On the other hand; Mr Forster might be a violent criminal, with previous assault convictions, well known to local police force, who might have had opportunities to be housed, but has made himself intentionally homeless to evade being tagged and therefore deterred from committing further crimes. In this case the police would be well within their rights, to uphold their sworn duty…' to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property…' to stop Mr Forster and ask if he is carrying anything /where he has been. As usual the police are caught between a rock and a hard place. If the above were true, and Mr Forster fractured the skull of an innocent passer-by who he had felt 'threatened by' with his 'defensive' weapon, then no doubt the officers of Camborne would then be accused of having not done enough to keep the public safe. Prejudice works both ways, pointing the finger at the police and accusing them of picking needlessly on the homeless is pre-judging them when you may not have all of the relevant information at hand. I would suggest that the £15 victim surcharge was for the unfortunate officer who had to handle the sock, which most likely did not need a rock in it to be offensive!

  • Ninanananoono  |  February 10 2014, 9:48PM

    I agree wholeheartedly with Getafish460 and josdave.

  • TheGeofflane  |  February 08 2014, 1:04PM

    He's 32. There is no excuse to carry a weapon of any sort. Petrocs and other charities are there to help.

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  • Getafish460  |  February 08 2014, 9:46AM

    I cannot, in all conscience, as a law abiding citizen, condone the carrying of any form of offensive weapon in a public place, concealed or otherwise (a rock-in-a-sock can only be viewed as Offensive, not Defensive by the nature of its construction and intended use)....... However, if the local Constabulary were to spend the time they allocate to "keeping an eye on" the homeless in the community in a less punitive way, continually looking for something to "feel their collar" for, then those whom are less fortunate than ourselves, often through little or no fault of their own, would have the visual reassurance that the law was there to protect them and not simply to find excuses to boost their own egos and crime solving statistics. This, of course, would have the additonal benefit of detering any would-be criminality from amongst the homeless (Yes, I know that they're not all angels) and further detering any crimes against the person that the homeless seem forced to endure (as previously mentioned), as the Police, seemingly, show little interest in that portion of the local populace except as viewing them as little more than an inconvenience at best (especially when the tourist season is in full swing) and a threat to the fabric of "normal" society at the other end of the scale. I'm not suggesting that we should all go out and "hug a hippy", or even invite a homeless person to tea (although that would be very "Christian" act), all I'm suggesting to any that read this, is to look at those within our communities with different "eyes". They're there, whether you choose to see them or not. Cut them some slack and consider this...... the only fundamental difference is that they don't, for whatever reason, have a place to call home, and there are a myriad of reasons that could see you in the same place in the future, and you wouldn't want to be the victim of such prejudice.

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  • josdave  |  February 07 2014, 8:35PM

    Given the way some people treat the homeless in my opinion he was justified in carrying some sort of protection.

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  • Getafish460  |  February 07 2014, 6:11PM

    Can anyone tell me why there was a "victim surcharge"? as there doesn't appear to have been a victim!! I'm all for keeping the good people od Camborne safe on the streets from heavily armed marauding homeless persons, but when there isn't any evidence to suggest that Mr Forster ever took the socks out of his pocket, except to put the rock into them, which "victim" is the surcharge being directed to? Perhaps the levy could have been put to the better use of buying Mr Forster another pair of socks to replace the ones that got ruined by his perceived necessity to place rock into them for his own protection, and thereafter to replace to socks that were confiscated by the police, thus leaving a homeless person on the streets, minus some of his, much needed at this time of year, warm attire. Perhaps Mr Forster wouldn't have felt the need to create an article to protect himself if the ever diligent Constabulary were more visible on the streets and he felt that he was protected by the law, not persecuted by it, as this predudicial action clearly demonstrates. i have often taken a short-cut down the identified service lane and never once have i been accosted by a constable and asked if i had "anything on me", but that might be because i am a middle aged man not bearing any resemblance to someone who might be of "no fixed abode". I think the issue speaks volumes......

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  • TWINSCREW  |  February 07 2014, 2:33PM

    In the "old days" the copper would have just taken the weapon away, given the guy a talking to and job done, probably given him the price of a cuppa as well.

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  • Barri  |  February 07 2014, 1:06PM

    Not only is this a pathetic example of the Police making themselves busy, it also shows that the Judiciary are at it as well. Not to mention the waste of money in bringing the case. £35 of income from the penalty does not offset this. Shame on them all for making the life of a homeless person more miserable. If anyone knows the whereabouts of Mr Forster I would like to make amends to him for the unnecessary and appalling treatment he has been subjected to.

    |   2
  • Madz_in_Kerno  |  February 07 2014, 10:38AM

    I think this is shocking. He hadn't used the 'weapon' or even shown any intent to use it. If I was rough sleeping on the streets of Camborne I'd want more than a sock with a rock in it for protection. This is a shameful case.

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