A homeless man orchestrated a dirty protest by smearing human excrement on various property including front doors, cars, windows amongst others in one of Britain’s most affluent areas, a court heard today.
James Cumberland, 57, is charged with having a bag containing human waste with the intention of damaging property, 18 counts of criminal damage and failing to surrender to police.
The damage, tallying up £1,580 in cleaning costs, is alleged to have been caused to cars and both residential and commercial properties in Chelsea, a dental practice and a doctors’ surgery being on the list of victims.
Homeless Cumberland was scheduled to appear at Hammersmith Magistrates Court this morning, but court staff could not disclose whether he was there, in custody elsewhere or residing at his brother’s address.
It was eventually revealed that Cumberland was in fact not in custody but the Crown Prosecution Service could not find ‘proof of service’, meaning it wasn’t apparent whether or not he had been summoned to attend court.
Tom Gill, prosecuting, stated: “As I see it, we have two options: we adjourn the case to get proof of service or we issue a warrant.
“Without having proof, the first option would be the best option. The last time anyone was in contact with him was on June 6 at the police station.
“But he wasn’t charged at the police station – he went away and then they made the decision to charge him.
“Because he is of no fixed abode, they would have had to physically hand him notice, but that did not happen.”
Timothy King, the District Judge, agreed to hold the case for three weeks until the investigating officer could be contacted and Cumberland formally summoned to attend court.
The next hearing is scheduled for September 5 at Hammersmith Magistrates Court.