Norfolk Constabulary: Police target beggars

08 November 2013

Police are urging visitors to Norwich to think twice about
giving money to beggars which funds the desperation of
addiction .

The call comes as police launched a crackdown in the city centre
yesterday, Thursday 7 November, as part of Operation Octane.

Increased patrols were carried out in response to complaints
made by the public and local businesses over the aggressive nature
of begging and associated anti-social behaviour.

Inspector Gavin Money, who led yesterday s operation, said out
of the 30 people identified as beggars in Norwich, only one was
homeless with the remaining having access accommodation. He added
several people were also in receipt of benefits.

Insp Money said: The begging is essentially bogus as money
given by the public is used to fund their addiction to Class A
drugs. But what people don t realise is this money is not being
spent on food or clothing, its funding additions to heroin or crack
cocaine.

It s about the desperation of addition people in this
situation will do anything to get their next hit and all this money
is doing is maintaining a damaging and destructive lifestyle.

We re not saying people shouldn t be generous to those who
are clearly in need of help, but the money is better spent on the
charities and services which support people and
can assist getting their life back on track.

Patrols focused on hotspot areas of London Street, Surrey
Street, Gentleman s Walk, Prince of Wales Road, Dove Street and the
Back of the Inns.

Three people were arrested for begging two men aged 39 and 24
and a 47-year-old woman.

Darren Coyle, 39 of Berners Close, Norwich, was charged with
begging persistently in a public place, and will appear at Norwich
Magistrates Court on 22 November.

Elizabeth Smith, 47 and of William Kett Close, Norwich, was
charged with begging in a public place and released on bail to
appear at court on 21 November.

A 24-year-old man arrested for begging was given a formal police
caution.

A series of raids were also carried out yesterday as part of the
operation targeting burglary, theft and drug suspects.

“We know that beggars can earn anything between 50 and 150 during a night in Norwich”

Insp Money

Officers gathered at Bethel Street Police Station for a briefing
at 7.30am before heading out to execute a warrant in Dibden Close
where stolen property, including electrical equipment, was seized.

A 26-year-old man was later arrested in connection with the find
and has been released on bail until December while enquiries
continue.

An 18-year-old man was also arrested at the scene after being
wanted on recall to prison.

Police went on to search homes in Howard Terrace and Bull Close
Road, although nothing was seized.

Another raid was carried out in Lowry Cole Road in Sprowston
where a quantity of cannabis and drug paraphernalia was seized. A
22-year-old man and 21-year-old woman were arrested at the scene on
suspicion of possession with intent to supply a Class B drug. Both
suspects were questioned at Aylsham Police Investigation
Centre and released on bail until December.

Shortly after 4.30pm police raided a house in Plantsman Close
where cannabis plants were found in the airing cupboard and loft.

Bags of herbal cannabis were also discovered in freezer. A
27-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of cannabis
cultivation and taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre for
questioning and later charged. Clive Read, of Plantsman Close, was
charged with producing a Class B drug and possession of a Class B
drug.

He was released on bail to appear before magistrates on 22
November.

Officers from the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition)
Intercept Team deployed in the north of the city stopping vehicles
suspected of being involved in crime including drink driving and
burglary.

Police stopped 42 vehicles and three people were issued with
100 fines and three points, five vehicles were seized and 19
offences reported.

Councillor Bert Bremner, the city council’s cabinet member
for housing, said: The police action further demonstrates that
street begging in Norwich is a problem linked with substance misuse
and not homelessness.

Giving money to street beggars keeps people on the street,
further damaging their health, and discourages them from engaging
with support services.

I urge local residents to support our alternative giving
campaign launching later this month, and redirect their generosity
to the local charities that can really help turn people s lives
around.

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