Handing money over to Sheffield beggars stops them 'sorting their benefits out', police warn

A beggar on The Moor
A beggar on The Moor
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Police have urged residents to "stop and think" before handing money over to street beggars in Sheffield.

Sheffield Central LPT stressed that street beggars who are receiving money on a daily basis would not be "motivated to access support" as a result.

Police said that street beggars would be more encouraged to "sort their benefits out, maintain a tenancy, access support to address addictions if necessary" if they were not being handed money.

A statement from Sheffield Central LPT read: "We understand there is a lot of public sympathy for people who beg, and a lot of work goes into working with support agencies and charities in the city to make sure the most vulnerable people are offered the right support and access to services.

"The fact is, that many of the people who beg are not motivated to access support while ever they are receiving what they need on a day to day basis from begging.

"The only way we can jointly tackle this problem, and help the individuals get the support and services they need, is to stop and think before we hand money directly to the person begging.

"If they were not receiving the money in this way, they might be encouraged to sort their benefits out, maintain a tenancy, access support to address addictions if necessary."

The warning from police comes after officers patrolled the streets of Sheffield yesterday with staff from from Sheffield City Council housing support services to address the issue.

Street begging is an offence for which the person committing can be reported to court and, if convicted, fined.

Police have launched the Help us Help campaign to raise awareness of the issue and appeals to residents to donate to local charities supporting individuals on a day to day basis.

The statement continued: "We are working with partner agencies to tackle the most persistent offenders by offering support, before enforcement.

"If you feel you have evidence to provide us about a begging issue which is in any way alarming, distressing, or causes harassment, please come forward and report to us."