A CHESTER man who found employment after police caught him begging in the street was given the lightest of punishments by Chester magistrates on Friday, August 3.

Ruslanas Michailovas, 44, of Brook Street, pleaded guilty to begging in Watergate Street, Chester on the night of July 17.

He had previously been fined £40 for a similar offence on July 13.

But magistrates heard Michailovas had endured financial hardship as a result of falling out with his previous employer and he was subsequently unable to obtain universal credit.

Michailovas, who spoke with the help of an interpreter, said he had now found employment with Afonwen on a flexible hours contract.

Magistrates took the view Michailovas had got his financial situation sorted and sentenced him to a half-day detention at Chester Magistrates Court, to conclude at noon.

But as Michailovas had been present at court since the start of the day's proceedings and was sentenced at 11.45am, that meant he only had to be detained for 15 more minutes.

Prosecuting, Alan Curams said it was at about 10.45pm when police were on patrol when they were alerted by CCTV operators to Michailovas, who had a hat in front of him, asking pedestrians for spare change.

Michailovas, who represented himself, said he had previously worked for a cash-in-hand boss, but left the job.

Upon trying to get universal credit, he learned his previous employer was not paying tax, so he was ineligible for benefits.

Since the begging, he was now working shifts at Afonwen.