A homeless man who attempted to erect a tent in County Hall has been sent to prison for three months.

Sam Maguire, of Milford Haven, currently of no fixed abode, appeared at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Tuesday, July 2, having previously pleaded guilty to a public order offence and criminal damage.

Maguire, 33, accepted that the offence put him in breach of a community order imposed in April following a church burglary.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said Maguire walked into the reception area of Pembrokeshire County Council with a pop-up tent on Friday afternoon, June 28.

“He went to the offices because he wanted to make a protest that he suffers from mental health issues and is homeless and says the council is not fulfilling its statutory obligation to find him somewhere to live.”

Maguire started shouting and stating that he was going to ‘smack up’ someone. He put his tent up in the middle of the main entrance, causing an obstruction and became abusive when told to move.

He told people not to laugh at him or he would ‘knock their head off’.

Police arrived and he was aggressive while being arrested and banged his head against the vehicle when taken to the station.

Once in a cell he bit a pillow, causing a tear and damage to the stuffing.

Maguire said: “I was stressed in prison and I chewed a pillow.”

The court heard that a person who accompanied Maguire was fined for a lesser public order offence.

Richard Morgan, defending, said Maguire was experiencing a difficult time, and suffered from mental health issues.

The bench heard that Maguire had gone to the council hoping to secure emergency accommodation, after being evicted from his Mount Estate home due to rent arrears and the property’s condition..

Mr Morgan added: “He thought that if they drew enough attention to themselves it would help, and took a pop-up tent. Things escalated, but it was an empty threat.”

“This is someone who desperately needs help and support and accommodation.”

Magistrates sentenced Maguire to three months in prison and ordered him to pay £200 in costs and a surcharge.