Police are cracking down on Lincoln beggars who have homes or refused help. The move comes after residents and businesses complained about the beggars who actually have homes and access to money, despite claiming to be sleeping rough.
Presently, beggars can earn up to £20,000 per year by sleeping on the streets, according to Lincolnshire Police. They earn around £40 during weekdays, and up to £100 on weekends.
“Over recent months we have received many verbal and written complaints from members of the public in relation to the problem of beggars,” said Inspector Mark Garthwaite of Lincolnshire Police.
“Having talked to other agencies and homeless groups, we have developed a process for dealing with these individuals. On the first occasion they are found begging they are given a letter, explaining why they are breaking the law and warning them that if they are found again in similar circumstances they will be arrested.”
It is an offence to ‘place oneself in a public place to gather alms’, according to the Vagrancy Act 1824. So far, three people have been charged under the act in Lincoln.
Daniel Christopher Terry (31), of Clarendon View, Robert James Reid (38), of Lawrence Close, and Richard Mettham (37), of Alness Close, will appear before Lincoln Magistrates Court at the end of the month due to begging offences.
“The key here is dealing with the symptoms of the problem and trying to get help for people who genuinely have no shelter and no money,” Garthwaite added.
“The letters also contain contact details of organisations and agencies in Lincoln who may be able to help them. If necessary, for genuine cases, our officers will even make contact with those agencies and set up appointments for people. We want to help anyone who is really in trouble.
“While we do have people who live on the streets of Lincoln, with serious personal and financial problems, there are also some who are using this as a way of making money, and sometimes they are threatening and intimidating to achieve their aim.
“For example, we are aware of one man [not one of the named above] who begs in the city centre, who is not homeless, but regularly makes more than £50 a day from passers-by. For me, this is tantamount to theft.
Police advise those who really want to help the homeless in Lincoln, that it is better to donate money or time to the Nomad Trust or the YMCA.