Patrick Ryan escaped another stint in jail, despite clocking up a record 630th offence – most of them for food and drink fraud – and running up a bill for taxpayers of up to £3m.
Instead the 60-year-old from Preston was handed a £110 fine after being unable to pay for his breakfast in a cafe – and then urinating against the wall.
Ryan admitted the charge and also breaching the terms of a sex offenders’ order by failing to register his address. “This takes him to the 630 offence mark,” defending solicitor Robert Castle told magistrates in Blackpool.
Ryan’s serial offending, dating back more than 40 years, could have cost the public purse £1m in prison costs alone. He is believed to have the longest list of convictions in England and Wales – so long that police were forced to put a “do not print out” warning on their computer to save paper.