A homeless man has been ordered by a judge to get a safety light for his shopping trolley after motorists narrowly avoided mowing him down on a dark road.
Jeremy Leith Gray, of no fixed abode, appeared before Judge Sygrove in the Levin District Court this week relating to an incident where he had wandered onto the road at night with his trolley.
Oncoming traffic phoned police with their concerns after they were forced to swerve to avoid the 45-year-old and his trolley, and he was arrested.
Gray was a familiar sight along main highways in the lower North Island as he tended to walk long distances and sleep on the roadside.
He was easily recognisable with a trademark cap, red earmuffs, long frizzy hair, bushy beard and black sheepskin slippers.
Gray carted considerable luggage in a shopping trolley which he towed along behind him with a bicycle inner-tube wrapped on his wrist.
In the trolley was some bedding and a chilly bin which yesterday included a few food items and fruit juice.
His lawyer Kelvin Campbell said Gray had a concerned family member at Foxton Beach who was caring and who was happy to take him in if he wanted to. He said Gray did not deny the charge and had pleaded guilty.
He promised to use a night light on his trolley and would take more care to keep off the road in future.
Judge Sygrove said buying a light was "extremely good advice" and he suggested a cheap LED light that would last for a long time "so you won't need batteries".
"You must keep off the road," he told Gray, who was sentenced to reappear in court if called upon in the next 12 months.
Gray was reluctant to go into great detail about his life on the street or why he was homeless when spoken to outside the court, saying only he tried not to lose his temper if he was taunted.
He said he had been living on the streets for years.
"Sometimes it's pretty hard. I manage ... it's not that cold," he said.