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Homeless man who was fined by council for 'begging' has been given a job and a roof over his head

  • Homeless man Gary Cannop was fined when he was reading a book in the alleyway where he sleeps.
  • After online backlash, Coventry Council has revoked the £60 fine.
  • Gary has been given a four-week trial as a cleaner and accommodation.
Gary Cannop, who has been homeless for 15 months was handed the fine in the alleyway where he sleeps. Credit: LDR Tom Davis

A homeless man who was fined £60 by Coventry council for 'begging' has been given a job and a roof over his head after backlash online.

Gary Cannop, who has been homeless for 15 months, was reading a book in an alleyway off Smithford Way, where he sleeps, on Tuesday 9 July, when he was fined by a council officer.

People rallied behind the 55-year-old on social media after a viral post online condemned the fine as "wrong on every level".

Many people called on the council to offer accommodation and a cleaning job to Gary.

The council has now revoked the fine and offered Gary a four-week trial as a cleaner, as well as accommodation.

Gary said it's fantastic news:

I am so happy about it. I was just sitting here reading a book and she said I was in a begging position. I said I was reading a book and she just wrote the fine out and walked off, but I did not do anything wrong. I do not beg and have never asked for money in my life. Out of it I have ended up getting a job which is fantastic and hopefully accommodation, although I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch. It puts me back to where I was before."

– Gary Cannop
Gary was reading a book when he was fined by the council officer. Credit: LDR Tom Davis

He is now looking forward to his new job cleaning the city.

"I like to take good care of the place here, he said. "I sleep here."

"A lady slipped on some leaves at the top and I just do not want that to happen again."

A council spokesman said:

There is a Public Space Protection Order in place for the city centre. This gives the council powers to fine people for aggressive begging. But it's about more than that - as it also provides an opportunity to support people without a home into accommodation and to drug and alcohol support services. It would be inappropriate to discuss an individual situation - and although our enforcement officer was doing their job we can confirm that the fine in question is in the process of being cancelled."

– Spokesperson, Coventry Council