Rough sleeper jailed after smashing beer barrel through front of Barclays Wigan

Ian Aspinall walks out of Barclays in Market Place, Wigan, after smashing the beer barrel through the front door
Ian Aspinall walks out of Barclays in Market Place, Wigan, after smashing the beer barrel through the front door

A rough sleeper has been jailed for six months after hurling a beer barrel through the front of a bank in Wigan town centre


Justices said Ian Aspinall caused “alarm and distress” to staff at Barclays in Market Place during the incident at around 4.40pm on Friday (January 10).

Aspinall, a sufferer of bipolar who was rough sleeping, caused £7,000 worth of damage to the front door, after hurling the keg through it.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court heard how the bank staff had been getting ready to finish for the day and had shut the front door when they saw Aspinall approaching.

They had seen him coming from the direction of The Moon Under Water pub with a beer barrel before he proceeded to throw the keg at the front door. However, he missed and the barrel rolled down the hill.

But the 34-year-old was then seen going to retrieve the barrel before returning and launching it again, this time succeeding in smashing the front door.

Ian Aspinall hurls the beer barrel through the front door of Barclays in Market Place, Wigan

Ian Aspinall hurls the beer barrel through the front door of Barclays in Market Place, Wigan

James Gore, prosecuting, said Aspinall then went into the bank and looked around before asking to speak to the manager.

He said terrified staff then took refuge in a back room of the bank before setting off smoke - believed to be a security measure - with Aspinall then walking out of the building.

Mr Gore said: “Members of the public then intervened and took hold of him until police arrived and used leg restraints to restrain him.

“He was then arrested.”

The court also heard how Aspinall, who had also been residing in homeless shelters in Leigh, had allegedly asked staff for a loan at the bank, even though he was not a customer there.

Appearing in court on Monday (January 13), Aspinall pleaded guilty to a criminal damage charge.

Karen Moorfield, defending, said Aspinall had no real recollection of the incident and reason for doing it.

She said: “He is of no fixed address and was under post-sentence supervision with the probation service, of which he attended appointments and complied with.

“He has been sleeping rough and residing in a homeless shelter in Leigh.

“In 2007 he was diagnosed with bipolar which he regularly takes medication for.

“He has found it far more difficult sleeping rough and keeping on top of his medication.

“He had missed his medication on the day of the incident which has impacted on his mental health and actions, which he can only assume played a part in his actions that do not make sense.

“He has seen the CCTV and accepts it’s him and that he has no legitimate reason for doing it.”

The court heard how Aspinall had eight previous convictions over the years with several of these for criminal damage, with his most recent offence being in November 2018.

Jailing Aspinall for six months, justices said his actions would have caused “alarm and distress” to members of the public, particularly to staff of Barclays.

They said that a further aggravating factor was his previous convictions and the fact he has been on post-sentence supervision with the probation service.

Justices also ordered him to pay a victim surcharge of £122