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  1. ITV Report

Homeless charities are welcoming a clampdown on beggars on our city streets

Police in Norwich and Cambridge are clamping down on beggars demanding money from passers-by, in response to concerns from the public and businesses. 170 people were warned in Norwich with 19 arrests for persistent begging. In Cambridge 11 people were spoken to.

Beggars can earn up to £250 a day on the streets but many, if not most, are not homeless.

"Our issue with begging, particularly from people sleeping rough is that if people do give money to them it gives them a little bit more leeway to exist a little bit longer on the streets and we don't want anyone becoming institutionalised"

– Derek Player, St Martin's Housing Trust
Begging is against the law. Credit: ITV Anglia.

It is an offence to beg under the 1824 Vagrancy Act. And those found persistently begging will be arrested and fined.

"There's often a misconception between begging and homelessness. However, the majority of people begging in the city were not homeless and had access to the hundreds of publicly funded beds provided in the city."

– Sgt Shawn Emms, Cambridgeshire Police
Last year's charity sleep out Credit: Benjamin Foundation.

Homeless charities say more needs to be done to prevent people ending up on the streets, especially as winter looms. The Benjamin Foundation in Norwich are staging a mass sleep out on Friday 11th November to raise awareness and funds. Find out more here

See Kate Prout's report here