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‘Pure fantasy’ to claim people are choosing to be homeless in Windsor, charity says

Charities which help the homeless have reacted angrily to claims that some people near the Queen’s residence at Windsor Castle are choosing to beg on the streets rather than accept the support available.

The accusation was made by the leader of the council in the Royal Borough which controls Windsor.

Councillor Simon Dudley claimed some of the town’s homeless people are making "a voluntary choice" to live on the streets.

Conservative councillor Simon Dudley. Credit: PA

He made the comments in a letter to the Police Commissioner who oversees the work of Thames Valley Police asking them for more help with the issue.

"A large number of adults", said Cllr Dudley, "are choosing to reject all support services [in order] to beg on the streets of Windsor".

He refers to "aggressive begging and intimidation" which is concerning residents and the seven million tourists who come to Windsor each year.

An extract from Simon Dudley's letter

The council leader is particularly concerned with the issue in the run up to the wedding in Windsor of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May when he says the "level of tourist interest is set to multiply".

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry in May. Credit: PA

It’s led to a backlash from the charities which support the homeless.

Murphy James from the Windsor Homeless Project said the council leader’s claim that there were services available to help the homeless was "pure fantasy".

Mr James said: "The help and support offered is nothing near what is needed."

The Brett Foundation which operates in nearby Maidenhead said it was "heart-breaking to read comments which put such an incorrect light on homelessness and the people who find themselves homeless".

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The charity added: "Please don’t let silly comments which are incorrect alter your views of our homeless who are truly vulnerable and need our support and help."

Last month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose Windsor as the location for their wedding.

They will marry on Saturday 19 May.