'Shop beggars' call to traders in Hull's Avenues area
TRADERS are being urged to "shop" persistent beggars who harass people in the Avenues.
Pictures and names of four prolific beggars have been circulated around shops and businesses in Princes Avenue and Chanterlands Avenue.
Police say the problem has recently increased and residents and shoppers often feel threatened by the beggars.
They hope that, with help from the traders, they can gather enough evidence to give them an antisocial behaviour order.
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Sergeant Adrian Marsden, who is based at Pearson Park police station, said: "There are some regular beggars who cause us problems.
"People who do it seem to think because they aren't asking for money, they aren't begging.
"But the action of sitting there with a cup in front of them constitutes begging.
"They often hang around near the cash machines, which people find very intimidating.
"Others are quite aggressive."
A letter featuring the names and pictures of four beggars has been circulated to traders.
The names on the list are Marie Wormald, Mike Megson, Mike Foster and Christopher Winn.
The letter instructs business owners who receive complaints from customers to record their contact details and pass them on to the police.
Sainsbury's in Princes Avenue is one of the areas where beggars often loiter.
The shop has a cash machine outside.
Manager Louise Mitten said: "We get customers complaining about them a lot.
"With the cash machine being right outside, it is threatening."
But Vicky Reynolds, manager of The Olive Tree, says she has never had a problem with beggars.
She said: "They don't bother me, I actually feel sorry for them.
"There is one guy who can be abusive though and he spits but the others outside Sainsbury's aren't a problem – if they ask for money and you say 'no' they leave you alone."
Sgt Marsden said many do not think begging is illegal but there has been a law banning it since the 1800s.
Many of the beggars target nighttime revellers in Princes Avenue but they have also been spotted in Chanterlands Avenue during shopping hours.
Chanterlands Avenue Community Traders chairman Chris Lee said: "I don't think the problem is confined to the Avenues – all major streets in Hull have beggars."
Anyone wishing to report a beggar should call Humberside Police on 101.
Have you got a story for the Avenues? E-mail email@example.com or call Emma Wright on 01482 315154.