West Midlands Police have warned shoppers in the Birmingham area not to hand over cash to nuisance ‘career beggars.’
ACCORDING to the police, many of these beggars are exploiting the public’s generosity by pretending to be homeless and raking in a tidy sum. In fact, a member of the Sparkhill Neighbourhood Facebook group claimed that one beggar they know fetches around £150-200 a day through begging.
Traders in the Stratford Road area, which is reported to be a hotspot for nuisance beggars in the Birmingham area, have appealed to the public to stop giving money to them as it just encourages them to return. As well as asking businesses and traders to help move these beggars on, the police has also advised shoppers through the neighbourhood alert service, not to hand over cash, pointing out that: “The beggars we are referring to are NOT homeless, they are BEGGARS.”
Sparkhill Labour Councillor Nicky Brennan confirmed that “begging is a problem in the area,” and that she has heard of rumours around how much some of these beggars can make. However, she highlighted that begging is a “complex problem that can go hand in hand with addiction and exploitation.”
Her advice to residents is “instead of giving money directly to an individual, donate to a homeless charity instead or volunteer in one.” Also, some people are genuinely homeless and it is a huge problem in the UK. In these cases, Brennan advises residents to access support services for a homeless person through the Streetlink app.