Five Romanian women have this week appeared in court charged with begging from motorists as they wait at traffic lights on some of Birmingham's busiest roads.
Drivers were asked for money in return for having their windscreens washed, whether they liked it or not.
It came after drivers using the Bristol road complained to police after their car windows were covered with soap despite them requesting that they were not.
One city councillor said it has happened to him and he now believes the operation could be linked to organised crime. Councillor Des Flood said:
Earlier this week the five women were given a conditional discharge after pleading guilty through a Romanian interpreter to street begging. Subsequently they were issued with fines of between £15 and £20.
The solicitor representing the women told magistrates that many of them didn't realise that what they were doing was actually illegal, he said they had little or no income and were simply trying to scrape together a few pennies to buy food and clothing.