People who come to Chester pretending to be homeless in order to deceive the public out of money will face arrest as part of a new crackdown being launched today.
Most people begging in Chester have somewhere to live and often come into the city, particularly on big event days, to mislead well-meaning people who believe they are giving their money to homeless people.
Councillor Angela Claydon, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “The Council will not tolerate people misleading others for financial gain. We have heard stories of these people earning up to £400 a day, particularly during high profile events.”
Inspector Barry Brown from Cheshire Constabulary said: “We’re working closely with the Council and partners to tackle this problem. Officers from our Beat Team and Anti-Social Behaviour Unit in Chester will engage with beggars on high profile event days and will advise of the potential penalties and the consequences of their actions. Repeated or aggressive begging will lead to arrest and people could be permanently banned from entering Chester.”
Councillor Angela Claydon continued: “We are highlighting this type of activity so that the public understand the problem and won’t be deceived by those who have a place to live begging in the city.
“If you would like to help the homeless please can I ask that you give your money direct to one of the many local charities in the city.”
Working to engage with beggars in this way supports the Council aim to have the cleanest, safest and most sustainable neighbourhoods in the country.
Robert Bisset, CEO of Chester Aid to the Homeless (C.A.T.H.) said: “I fully support the crackdown to deter people begging in the city. I would discourage anyone to give to beggars as the likelihood is that any money given would not be spent in their best interests.”