Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Beggars Pocketing PS300-Plus a Day

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Beggars Pocketing PS300-Plus a Day

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN JOHNSON @Ian_JohnsonGaz

TEESSIDE'S beggars are pocketing more than PS300 a DAY - often to spend on drink and drugs.

And beggars are duping the public after it emerged the vast majority of them in Middlesbrough have homes.

The shocking figure comes as Middlesbrough Council admit the public are getting fed up of beggars.

A list of the town's five most "persistent" culprits will be created as part of a crackdown. "During the last few years Middlesbrough has seen a steady increase in begging, rough sleeping and street drinking primarily linked to fund the use of class A drugs," reads a council report.

"Individuals can often earn a significant amount of money each day by taking donations from generous members of the public. "Some of these individuals are reported to earn in excess of PS300 per day.

"The majority of day time shoppers and office workers are generally sympathetic towards begging as they believe that individuals are genuinely homeless and hungry, despite 27 local charities and businesses offering free food on a daily basis.

"Levels of public tolerance (over begging) have further declined and fear of crime has increased.

"Generally members of the public perceive that all street beggars within Middlesbrough are actually homeless, despite the fact that 70% have either a secure tenancy or some form of supported accommodation." The report comes as The Gazette can exclusively reveal Cleveland Police received 255 begging complaints in Middlesbrough alone last year, following an Freedom of Information request. And we can also now reveal some of the tactics being used by beggars to get money.

|Teesside University security flagged up to police two people who were begging outside the Salvation Army in Southfield Road. The pair of beggars were watched "leading people" to taxis, before taking money off them. This was reported to Cleveland Police. |Beggars are particularly targeting foreign students, according to Middlesbrough Council's report.

|A bogus charity collector tried to claim he was collecting for a mosque - but was instead keeping the cash for himself. …

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