Police act after complaints over beggars in Blackpool
Police say residents and business owners in Blackpool's South Shore have raised concerns about beggars becoming a nuisance outside shops.
It resulted in officers intervening on a stretch of Waterloo Road, close to the promenade, where a group had gathered.
It is illegal to beg on the streets in the UK, and a number of those caught doing it have been fined at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.
One shop worker, who didn’t want to be named, said: “They are a damned nuisance, to be honest.
“One of them followed one of my customers into the shop and was either drunk or on drugs.It really doesn’t help the business.”
Another retailer, Franco Patel, of Mobile Mad said: “At times there has been a bit of a problem.”
But after Blackpool Police posted on their Fascebook site confirming their actions, there was a mixed reaction from residents on social media, with some voicing frustration over beggars, while other urged more compassion and support for them.
Police said: “Following concerns raised by local residents and business owners regarding begging and anti-social behaviour in the Waterloo Road area of Blackpool, a multi-agency operation was conducted by the Blackpool South NHP Team and colleagues from Blackpool Council.
“Several people have been dealt with for breaching Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) and reported for begging offences along with Community Protection Warnings issued by Blackpool Council.”
Tim Coglan, Blackpool Council’s head of public protection, said: “Anti-social behaviour such as begging can be a huge problem for businesses as it can be extremely off-putting to customers and shoppers. It can also be extremely intimidating for shop staff and local residents.
“A number of businesses and residents in the area had raised concerns about the anti-social behaviour of some individuals so we worked closely with the police to tackle this issue.
“While we recognise that many people involved in begging may be vulnerable individuals and we will do what we can to help those people it is important that local people and businesses be protected from nuisance behaviour.”