Shoppers in Lincoln are being asked not to give money to people begging on the street.
Lincoln BIG fears that residents may be accidentally feeding a drug and drink habit, so they could put their generosity to better use.
The organisation is working with the City of Lincoln Council, Lincolnshire Police, the Nomad Trust, Framework and BeAttitude to tackle the problem.
It also asks that people instead support these organisations in order to help those begging on the streets.
Soon, collection boxes will be placed in a number of shops, pubs and churches in the city with the slogan “Don’t Put Your Spare change in the Wrong Hands”.
Shops and other venues will also put up posters reminding people to donate to these organisations.
Lincoln BIG Security Group Co-ordinator Yvette Hall said: “We have an issue with street beggars in the city and we are keen to educate people that when they give an individual beggar money, they are likely to use it to buy their fix.
“We want to encourage them to give their money to help people, rather than encourage them to go on begging.
“There are a range of agencies able to assist individuals who have fallen on hard times and people are being encouraged to put their money into special charity collection boxes instead.
“That way they can be reassured that they are giving support to a recognised organisation.”