Rival beggars battle to sit outside busy theatre


By Michael MacLeod

A BEGGAR was arrested for clashing with a fellow tramp over a turf-war for a plum begging spot.

Gary Patience, and Colin McLeod clashed over the patch in front of Edinburgh’s Playhouse theatre.

The spat turned nasty when Mr McLeod set his dog on 51 year-old Patience.

Police had to be called when Patience retaliated by arguing with his rival while holding a baseball bat.

Patience today (Wednesday) admitted he had a weapon because he wanted to “settle the row”.

The Playhouse was his “usual begging place” but Mr McLeod, had been repeatedly asking him to move, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard.

“They both beg outside the Playhouse”

His defence agent Caroline Kwek said: “This incident did arise due to an incident involving the two men and their respective dogs.

“They both beg outside the Playhouse and Mr Patience had been asked to move from his usual begging place on this date, and on previous occasions, by Mr McLeod.

“On one occasion Mr McLeod set his dog on Mr Patience’s dog and he was aggrieved at that.”

Patience claims Mr McLeod, who refused to give his age to police, then set his dog on him, but it is understood he will not press charges.

The dispute came to a head on February 12 when the pair crossed paths in the city’s Johnston Terrace.

Police had to be called when onlookers saw Patience holding a baseball bat, according to prosecutor Dev Kapadia.


He said: “Colin McLeod and a friend were walking to a hostel at 10.20pm when Patience spoke to them.

“He was aggrieved in relation to the incident involving their respective dogs.

“He was then seen to be holding a bat, and police were called.

“They asked him to drop it, which he did, and he was charged with carrying an offensive weapon.”

Patience was originally charged with hitting Mr McLeod over the head, but the charge was dropped yesterday when he admitted possession of the weapon.

Miss Kwek added: “He says that when he went to speak to Mr McLeod about setting his dog on his dog, Mr McLeod then actually set the dog on him.

“That is why he produced the baseball bat.

“He wanted to settle the row.”

Sheriff Frank Crowe called for background reports and Patience was bailed to return to court next month for sentencing.

He warned Patience, of Edinburgh’s Albert Street not to get into any more disputes.

He said: “In view of the circumstances I should find out more about your background.

“I am at this stage considering a sentence which won’t involve prison, so it is up to you to keep out of trouble meantime.”