Published On: Sun, Jun 29th, 2014 on 12:34 pm

Leeds city centre beggars could now face prison

Charity

Persistent beggars will face tough action if they continue to beg in Leeds city centre.

A new injunction order, secured by Leeds City Council and granted at Leeds County Court, will aim to force people to stop begging in the city centre or near the central train station.

If anyone given the order breaches it, hearings will be fast tracked to the court, where the individual could face a fine or even prison.

The securing of the injunction was aimed to specifically target those who are not homeless and do not have to live on the streets, but continue to ask passer-bys for money despite support services being made available.

Superintendent at West Yorkshire Police, Sam Millar, said: “Begging in the city centre is an issue that prompts concerns and regular complaints from the public, and the police have been working closely with the council and homeless organisations to develop long-term solutions that will have longer term benefits on the problem.”

Early this year, Leeds City Council and partners launched a campaign to remind the public that giving money to beggars in the city centre is a crime, and to instead donate their money to services providing support to the needy.

The Council’s lead member for community safety, Cllr Mick Coulson, said: “Working with partners and a wide range of groups and organisations across the city, we are determined to do everything possible to help anyone living on our streets that desperately need our help.

“This remains one of our continued aims, and we would urge anyone who is homeless to contact us as soon as possible to find out the support that is available.

“What we will not tolerate however are those people who have absolutely no reason to beg, refuse any offers of help, and instead decide to continue begging in the city.”

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