Second crackdown on Preston's street beggars

George Holroyd of Preston City Council, Vinnie Thomson of Discover Drug  Alcohol Recovery Services, PCSOs Conor Tomlinson and Ashley Lawton prepare for a further crackdown on street begging in Preston
George Holroyd of Preston City Council, Vinnie Thomson of Discover Drug Alcohol Recovery Services, PCSOs Conor Tomlinson and Ashley Lawton prepare for a further crackdown on street begging in Preston
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Further weeks of action to combat Preston’s street begging problem will take place in 2018, the council has said.

READ MORE: UNCOVERED: The plight of some of Preston’s rough sleepers

City authorities promised to “up the ante” in November as latest figures claimed around 80 per cent of beggars are not genuinely homeless. In a week of activity in November – including four daily patrols – officers initiated 33 interventions, according to a new report.

Interventions included issuing community protection notices (CPNs) or obtaining access to other support services on behalf of the beggar.

The week of action, part of an ongoing crackdown, has been hailed a success and similar schemes will be launched throughout this year, the council said.

Coun Peter Moss, cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “The Off the Streets campaign is a multi-agency initiative to tackle professional beggars in the city rather than those in the homeless community.

“The officers carried out regular patrols during November speaking to a number of people, and some of them did accept the help on offer.

“It’s great that they have engaged with the services out there trying to help with their differing needs.”During the November week of action, on four occasions beggars were found to have breached the terms of the CPN, triggering enforcement action.

George Holroyd, team leader for the town hall’s environmental protection department, had previously said of the patrols: “People are ringing up saying it ruins the look of Preston, it’s intimidating. And it impacts on businesses in the city centre.”

“We don’t want it to be, we’ve moved them on and that’s it; that’s not solving the problem.”