Man to be summonsed for begging in Ely city centre - he’s ‘not homeless’ says East Cambs police
- Credit: Archant
Police in Ely maintained their zero policy on begging by reporting a man in the city centre.
Officers were out on patrol with officials from East Cambridgeshire District Council yesterday (Thu) when they spotted the man begging in the market.
“One male has been reported for summons for the offence of begging,” said a police spokesman.
“The male was not homeless and has access to a wide variety of help from various agencies.”
It means that the ‘beggar’ will receive a summons through the post in coming weeks with a court date when magistrates will decide how to deal with the offence.
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Earlier this year Angela Parmenter, housing and community safety manager at East Cambridgeshire District Council, spelt out the policy locally on begging.
“We are aware of the issue of begging in our District and are completely committed to doing our utmost to prevent it including working in conjunction with East Cambs Policing,” she said.
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“My team search Ely City centre daily looking for people in need of help and as soon as we see, or a member of the public alerts us to someone, we provide advice, assistance and accommodation, including the offer of temporary accommodation, if required.
“We have an excellent relationship with landlords and have worked hard to be able to secure accommodation for single people, usually within 48 hours of us first meeting the homeless person.
She said: “We are confident that currently, we have no genuine rough sleepers in East Cambs however we are aware of people begging in Ely City centre.
“Unfortunately, we cannot make any individual engage with us or accept any accommodation that has been offered. However, we will always continue to try.” She said earlier this year that her officers spoke to three people who appeared to be homeless.
“All three were again offered emergency accommodation but all three have refused and have stated that they are in no need of assistance,” she said.
“Any person seeking temporary accommodation is welcome to visit the homelessness team at The Grange where help and advice can be given. We will continue to offer temporary accommodation as we have done for some considerable time.”
Sergeant Phil Priestley said at the time: “There are no rough sleepers in Ely - all of the individuals that have been seen begging recently have been catered for with regards to housing and support.
“We do not want people to be misled, because it can be a lucrative opportunity.
“It is natural to feel for anyone who appears to be living on the streets or who seems to be affected by hardship.
“We urge anyone who wants to assist the issue of homelessness to donate to registered charity who will take a coordinated approach to tackling the problem.
“If you do feel moved to give something - offer food or a warm drink by all means - but please do not offer money.”