Beggars plague fed-up shoppers

A beggar on The Moor,Sheffield
A beggar on The Moor,Sheffield
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POLICE are cracking down on persistent beggars by urging Sheffielders to report every instance of being hassled for money.

PC Paul Briggs told residents at a meeting of the City Centre Community Forum that, if they report problems, it makes taking police and court action much easier.

He said: “Once we have tried to push beggars towards help the next stage is to try to get an anti-social behaviour order.

“That is made much easier if members of the public report any problems they have.”

Forum chair Carla Denoto said she had heard reports of people being threatened by beggars.

City centre safer neighbourhood officer Phil Ashford said every beggar in the city centre had been offered help to get off the streets.

He said: “We don’t have as much of a problem as other cities with this issue.

“But I can honestly say there isn’t a beggar in Sheffield city centre at the moment who hasn’t been given the opportunity to work with services to access help.

“These people are going home with significant sums of money - and they are not using it to feed themselves.”

Mr Ashcroft added: “We are probably never going to eradicate it - but if everyone reports problems we can chip away at it.”

Sgt Darren Nugent said his team had worked hard over five or six years on the problem of begging - and the situation was markedly improved.

Residents also complained about persistent problems with too many charity workers on Fargate and in Barker’s Pool.

City centre management officer David Parker said the council was trying to limit the number of charity collectors in the centre, but admitted it was a ‘real problem’.

- To report an aggressive beggar call police on 0114 220 2020.