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News Archive > General > Begging on rise in town?

Begging on rise in town?

By Adele Moore 5th July 2017

Begging on rise in town?
SHOPPER: ‘I was approached while buying parking ticket’

“REPORT cases of begging, or we can’t act.”

That is the message from a team of agencies working to tackle anti-social behaviour in St Austell, amid claims of a rise in street begging.

Members of St Austell police, Cornwall Council’s anti social behaviour team, and the charity Addaction visited the town centre to advise traders on how to properly report instances of street begging.

It comes after several people told the Voice this week that they had been approached and asked for money - near the HSBC cash machine in Fore Street, near the ticket machine in Priory Car Park, at Old Vicarage Place, in White River Place and near the entrance to Boots on High Cross Street.

Helen Toms is Cornwall Council’s Anti Social Behaviour worker covering East Cornwall which includes St Austell. She said: “At the moment our big focus is on anti social behaviour and begging within the town centre. We can see what is happening and are looking to assist.

“We’ve spoken to those affected about a wide range of issues including housing. There are lots of routes for people to get help, and a lot of agencies willing to support - such as the food bank. There are services available if people who want to access them, for example, Addaction has been really supportive.”

But she urged St Austell residents to play their partin tackling the issue by reporting incidents effectively.

“The more we have in terms of descriptions and evidence, the more effectively we can respond,” she said.

“We are working with a number of individuals who are all at stage 1 of the anti social behaviour process. The final stage is applying a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).”

One woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Voice she was approached by a begger while purchasing her car park ticket.

She said: “A man came up to me and said, ‘got any change?’ it made me feel really uneasy.”

Another woman said: “I have never noticed begging in the town before really until recently. I always used to feel safe coming into town, but this week I have been approached twice while shopping.”

“It’s not very nice.”

Another reader told the Voice that she was approached in Old Vicarage Place and outside Boots by two different people, both of whom were women.

Insp Ed Gard from St Austell Police said he does not believe there has been an increase in the total number of beggars, but felt that the current situation is likely to be a trend among what can be a transient community.

He believes that a small number of people are targeting visitors to St Austell and reiterated the importance of gathering evidence.

“Please do not give money because this only encourages the situation,” he said.

Anyone who would like to report an instance of begging should gather detailed descriptions and email them to 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk or use an online form on the anti-social behaviour section of Cornwall Council’s website.

By Adele Moore 5th July 2017

Oldandugly 5th July 2017 23:05
I was in town last Friday in a fifteen minute stay I was approached twice for money, & watched one woman drunk verbally abuse a passer by. A gang of three people again one was certainly drunk walk along the road stopping the cars!
Councillors or the police should walk in town at 17.00 in plain clothes & actually see what´s going on, wearing a uniform simply tells the drunks to shut up for ten minutes.
Dan James 7th July 2017 19:08
The real issue is that these people are not being supported. How about blaming the appalling government for cutbacks to healthcare and social support rather than simply blaming people for begging????
Ian Onymous 17th July 2017 04:15
I have had one man ask me for change on two occasions recently, and have seen another sat opposite Iceland with a handpainted banner, requesting spare change.
I didn´t recognise either man, and being a resident of a local homeless charity, I called them just in case a new resident wasn´t aware of their rules regarding antisocial behaviour.
The men seen weren´t residents, so nothing could be done.
As for saying a drunk woman verbally abused someone, that´s hearsay, unprovable and prejudicial.
Assumptions have been made without your being in full control of the facts.
What´s worse, a drunken ignorance, dulling possible depression, mental or physical ailment, or sober ignorance, fed by a wilful desire to only see things from a blinkered perspective?
You could have been right, you may have been incorrect, but either way, you could have worded things in a more considered fashion.
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