Homeless beggar and former Big Issue seller Gareth Turp has been banned from harassing people in Oxford.

Turp, 24, admitted at Oxford Magistrates' Court on Thursday two counts of begging and was given a conditional discharge.

He was also handed an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo) banning him from begging in the city or selling the magazine The Big Issue unless working within the magazine's code of conduct.

City centre neighbourhood officer Pc Paul Phillips said: "Mr Turp has been a persistent beggar who pesters the public and physically stops people in the street, particularly those coming out of pubs and clubs in the evening.

"He has also tried to sell copies of The Big Issue and his behaviour has damaged the reputation of legitimate sellers in the city.

"While we are using this Asbo to protect the public, we are also working with the street services agency to offer him support with his on-going drug habit and homelessness problems."

Other Big Issue sellers welcomed the Asbo.

Graham Peters, 43, who has sold the magazine in High Street for the past five years, said: "He walks around hounding people.

"I was on my patch and he would stop customers and wave them over before they got to me. You don't do that kind of thing. We are all in the same boat.

"I wouldn't do that to someone else and expect them not to do that to me. He used to walk around getting people to buy The Big Issue, then give them a torn magazine without a cover or refuse to give them one at all. He just went round annoying everybody."

Another seller who gave his name as Bill, 44, said: "He goes round hassling people. None of us would like to get an Asbo. If you behave yourself, you won't get one.

"I don't support Asbos, but I can understand why he has been given one. He gives everyone else a bad name."

The Asbo preventing Turp from begging in Oxford lasts until July 11, 2009.

If he breaches the order, Turp will reappear in court to be sentenced and could face jail.

Turp previously received a two-year Asbo in May 2004 for begging, which he breached and was jailed.

The Big Issue has already suspended him as a vendor.

Publisher Lisa Woodman said Turp was suspended from selling the magazine because of persistent begging and breaking the code of conduct.

She added: "He would have to show a vast improvement in himself for the suspension to be lifted."