Beggars on Stratford's streets are hoodwinking public - The Stratford Observer
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14th Aug, 2022

Beggars on Stratford's streets are hoodwinking public

BEGGARS on Stratford’s streets are hoodwinking the public claims a former town mayor.

Cyril Bennis is urging people not to give hand-outs of any kind to beggars as he says a lot of it is just dumped.

He saw clothing, food packaging and even sleeping bags discarded behind shops in Sheep Street.

Mr Bennis said: “The community are so good. They’re protective of these people, but those people are not being respectful and it’s a huge tragedy.

“People just dump stuff they’ve been given. Passers-by need to think twice before they buy things for them.

“People like this don’t want to be helped. They are intelligent people making the wrong decisions. The choices they make don’t help their wellbeing and they need to realise there will come a day when they don’t get up.”

He added those genuinely wanting help would seek support from Stratford District Council’s Link Project.

A council spokesperson said: “We understand why people want to help but this is the same as giving them cash. It enables rough sleepers to continue to maintain lifestyles which are destructive, and counteracts the engagement agencies need to get rough sleepers off the streets and into safe and secure housing.”

Stratford Street Pastors help rough sleepers on the town’s streets during their regular nighttime patrols.

Volunteer Maureen Green said: “There are agencies people can be referred to in Stratford, but I think it’s important to show care and treat people as people and be non-judgemental.

“There’s a variety of reasons people are out there. There are people from Leamington who travel to Stratford because it’s good place to get money. They might not be homeless, but there are lots of reasons behind their decisions. You can’t know what path they’ve trodden. They could have lost their job or fallen out with partner – not all people on streets are homeless.

“If I’m out sometimes I might buy a drink or a sandwich for someone. It is a way of helping and showing care.”

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