16:05 07 October 2013
As begging had become a major problem in Birmingham city centre particularly for the business community, police have launched an eight-week initiative into this growing problem and found that of 28 people they have arrested on suspicion of pleading for money, more than 50 per cent of them have their own home.
Another 12 individuals were also arrested as part of the initiative. All 40 failed drug tests.
Committee member Cllr Tim Sawdon said: "To find out that the number of homeless people is not anything like what we expected because they have homes and are, therefore, entitled to benefits, is extremely depressing."
Sgt Lee Howard confirmed that there are now plans for an alternative giving scheme to help drive beggars off the streets. He said: "We're hoping an alternative giving scheme can be launched in the city to make sure money people are willing to donate finds its way to the people who need it most."
Meanwhile, Carole Fox, operations manager for homelessness charity Sifa Fireside, said that food poverty and changes in the government’s benefits could have forced people into desperate measures.
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