Street beggars make Sheffield city centre a 'third world country' with 'professionals' raking in 'Â£100 a day'
Street begging is making Sheffield city centre a 'third world country' with 'professionals' raking in 'Â£100 a day'.
That's the view of Sheffield City Centre Residents' Action Group who compiled a consultation on the issue of people who beg on the streets on the request of South Yorkshire Police.
One resident said the number of street beggars has 'increased massively' over the last two or three years while another person living in the city centre revealed they have seen people seen 'jogging briskly to their patch before slumping to the floor, crouching under an old coat and proceeding to beg'.
Another anonymous resident who has lived in the city centre for 12 years said: " The image of Sheffield city centre is dragged down by these people, who don’t exist in Meadowhall. Something substantial needs doing.
"The council has been quick, determined and heavy-handed dealing with tree preservation people, so why can’t it deal with beggars? We know the solutions are complex, but we have professional people who now comprehend the issues, so what are we waiting for?"
Another response said street begging was a 'guise' for people to 'parade' their alcohol and drug addictions in the city centre.
Peter Sephton, chairman of the group said some people can earn up hundreds of pounds a week and added Sheffield could become a 'national leader' on the problem if key figures 'get their act together'.
He said people are coming in from other towns and cities to beg in Sheffield and many who appear homeless actually have accommodation to got to.
"Begging is making our centre look like a third world country. Few of those involved are homeless, some are professional beggars, some are coming in from other towns to earn cash, some have mental health problems, some are addicted to drugs, alcohol or betting. The last thing they need is money from the public to fund their addictions.
"SCCRAG has sympathy with those who have genuine problems, but begging on the street does not deal with their problems. In fact it makes their problems worse because, by supporting their unhealthy lifestyle, it keeps them away from the agencies that can help."
Sheffield Council and South Yorkshire Police have been contacted for a comment.