A petition to remove spikes outside a fast food restaurant has gathered more than 70,000 signatures after concerns were raised it was aimed at deterring rough sleepers.
The online petition, set up by Isobella DeMartino, calls for the spikes or ‘studs’ to be removed from outside McDonald’s on Briggate in Leeds city centre.
People from across the world have signed the petition but McDonald’s defends the decision, saying the studs are not targeting homeless people but were installed two years ago to stop anti-social behaviour at the restaurant, which is open 24 hours a day.
In a statement on the petition website, Isobella DeMartino said: “Anti-homeless spikes show complete disregard and lack of respect for homeless people who struggle every day.
“Spikes have been installed, presumably to prevent people sleeping there.
“The fact that the spikes exist shows how little people care about homeless people.”
She added: “Every time I’m in Leeds I see many ignore homeless people, not even bothering to smile at them let alone try to help them or give charity. I cannot imagine how painful and lonely it must be to be homeless.
“They deserve our attention and care, this issue cannot be ignored.”
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s said: “The studs in question are not an ‘anti-homeless’ measure, as has been suggested.
“They have been in place for around two years and were introduced following discussions with the police, in response to issues we were experiencing with antisocial behaviour.”
She added: “We welcome all customers through our doors and it is inaccurate to suggest a measure taken in response to tackling antisocial behaviour, is an attempt to deter homeless people.”