The beggar vigilante calling for an end to 'fake homelessness'
In 2017, almost 5,000 people were sleeping rough on the streets of England with charities like Crisis predicting these numbers could rise to 15,000 by 2026. But statistics like this have not prompted vigilantism, not sympathy, by those who believe a large number of professional criminals and drug addicts are exploiting the public.
Business owners in Torbay have started the #FakeBeggars movement in an attempt to drive a large number of professional beggars off the streets - claiming they’ll name and shame those who cannot prove they are genuinely homeless.
Ashley Sims of Humanity Torbay has spearheaded this campaign, admitting he regularly takes photographs of those he believes are posing as rough sleepers. Despite being criticised by police and charities, Ashley says their local initiative has been a success with the streets of Torbay clear of fake beggars. He even thinks his controversial idea be rolled out throughout the country. But activist and journalist Matt Bromfield says Ashley’s idea is disgusting and those who are begging in freezing weather conditions are desperate.