West Yorkshire Police seize fake cardboard 'please help' signs from people pretending to be
Promoted by Get Into Teaching Police seized faked cardboard signs from 'beggars' who pretended to be homeless in West Yorkshire.
Officers issued an alert about the incident in Bradford on Monday. They said: "These signs were seized from beggars who were not homeless. They are now being prosecuted."
One of the seized homeless signs
The signs read "Hi I am homeless and in need off some food, any help will be welcomed. I am looking 4 work. Thanks"
Another said: "Homeless please help thank you God bless."
Those using the signs now face prosecution.
Should you give money to the homeless? What police and charities say It's a depressingly common scenario: you're walking down the high street when a dejected looking homeless person asks you for 50p for a cup of tea.
While many will proudly give as much as they can to those begging on the streets, should you hand over your money?
This is what a homeless charity says.
Thames Reach, a homeless charity based in London, says that those begging on the streets are often supporting a hard drug habit.
A spokesman said: "Overwhelming evidence shows that people who beg on the streets of England do so in order to buy hard drugs, particularly crack cocaine and heroin, and super-strength alcoholic beers and ciders.
"These highly addictive drugs cause an extreme deterioration in people’s health and even death.
"This evidence comes from a number of sources. Firstly, Thames Reach’s outreach teams, including its London Street Rescue service, who are out and about on the streets of the capital working with London’s homeless 365 days of the year.
"They estimate that 80 per cent of people begging do so to support a drug habit.
"Secondly, when the Metropolitan Police did some drug testing of people arrested for begging, the figures indicated that between 70 and 80 per cent tested positive for Class A drugs.
"Most recently, in a police crackdown in Birmingham on begging in autumn 2013, every single one of the 40 people arrested failed a drug test.
"The evidence is indisputable that the overwhelming majority of people begging on the streets of England spend their begging money on crack cocaine and heroin."
What police say
South Yorkshire Police's Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts said the issue has also been felt in Sheffield.
He said: "Sadly a small number of people in Sheffield city centre choose to beg passers-by for money, often to feed an underlying issue with drugs or drink.
"Visitors and business owners report feeling intimidated by the beggars’ actions and the unwanted attention. This, in part, is why we are here with our partners to steer beggars away from the street and towards the help and advice available from support services.
"Those begging are often vulnerable and signposting them to social services and charity is the preferred option.
But we are also committed to taking enforcement action against those who won’t engage with the support that is available from partner agencies." So, police and charities say, the best way to support the homeless is to give your money or time to homeless charities and shelters rather than directly to street beggars.