ASBO for homeless Santa’s grotto

A homeless man who set up a Christmas grotto in a bus stop has been given an ASBO that prevents him from entering Cardiff, Penarth and Barry if he is intoxicated.

Gary Cooper, 50, set up his grotto in a Cosmeston Lakes County Park bus shelter after receiving a number Christmas decorations from the general public last year. The grotto was later taken down by the police shortly before Christmas Day.

Cooper will be in breach of his ASBO if he is found to be in possession of “an open alcohol container”, and is prohibited from “urinating in a public place or abusing the police or any member of the public”.

Cooper is a recovering alcoholic, and Pastor Jennings of the Cosmeston Church (where Cooper once worshipped) claims not to have seen him for several months.

“I saw him in the summer when he got a place at an alcohol rehabilitation centre, but he left. As I understand it, he has been in and out of prison. I haven’t seen him for a couple of months.

“We spend a lot of time trying to help him and will continue to do so. I’m not disappointed in him, just disappointed for him”.

Jacob Dirnhuber