Traders call for end to street begging

Businesses in Whitegate Drive are concerned about beggars becoming a nuisance in the area.
Businesses in Whitegate Drive are concerned about beggars becoming a nuisance in the area.
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Traders are calling for action against beggars who have been harrassing their customers.

Businesses on Whitegate Drive in Blackpool say they are fed up of vagrants causing a nuisance in the area.

Now community activists are working alongside the police to tackle the issue which is mainly affecting the part of the road closest to Devonshire Square.

Amy Bennett, of Devonshire Launderette, said: “The area is rife with them. You cannot walk through the square without being nagged by someone for money.

“One person had virtually set up camp in the entrance to the old Natwest bank.

“Perhaps they think this is a good area to beg in because there are lots of local businesse so plenty of people are coming and going, but it is causing a nuisance for us.”

The owners of other businesses also said there was a problem.

One who did not want to be named said: “We have had a couple of beggars who have been stopping people as they have been walking past.

“It is a nuisance, especially for elderly people who find it intimidating.”

Dave Blacker, chairman of the Talbot ward PACT (police and community together), said they were now working with the police to tackle the problem.

He said: “The community is working with the police to prevent this happening.

“Unfortunately in Blackpool there are problems with people who have slipped through the net and are desperate for a meal.

“However we don’t want people begging and using the money for alcohol.

“I would urge people to support some of the many homeless charities in Blackpool,

“I am also chairman of the Gateway Area Forum and we have given funding to North Shore Methodist Church towards the work they are doing with homeless people.”

Inspector Jason Richardson, neighbourhood inspector for Blackpool Town Centre, said three incidents of begging had been reported in March on the stretch of Whitegate Drive between Reads Avenue and Devonshire Square.

He said: “We don’t think it is a massive problem but it is a community PACT priority on Talbot ward.

“We have been liaising with the shops and residents and we have stepped up patrols in that area.

“We are also following up information reported to us by the community.”