'We cannot allow those on benefits to stop traffic to beg' say police as woman charged with vagrancy

Police charged a woman with vagrancy after being found begging.
Police charged a woman with vagrancy after being found begging.

Police in West Yorkshire arrested a woman for vagrancy after she was found begging in the streets despite being a benefit recipient.

The woman, who was arrested in the Great Horton area of Bradford, was arrested on Monday, September 9.

She was described as a 'daily' beggar who was 'pestering' customers in nearby businesses.

Officers said she was already receiving benefit support from the government.

They also stated that they could 'confirm' the change she collected was to fund a class A drug habit.

Police from the Bradford West team said that although the decision to arrest the woman will will divide opinion, they "cannot allow" people who receive benefits to beg for change.

In a statement, officer said: "Daily female beggar in the Great Horton corridor arrested and charged with vagrancy today by one of our Special Constables Irvin.

"We cannot allow people already in receipt of benefits and support, to stop traffic and enter new businesses to pester customers for change.

"Change which in this case we can confirm has been used to fund class A drug habits.

"Some public support this action, others detest it. Mixed public opinion but the law is set to prevent public nuisance and offending."

The Vagrancy act 1824 criminalises begging and homelessness.

The law states that "every person going about as a gatherer or collector of alms, or endeavouring to procure charitable contributions of any nature or kind, under any false or fraudulent pretence" will be "deemed rogues and vagabonds."

Homeless charity Crisis has been calling on the government to scrap the Vagrancy Act saying it does not "resolve the root causes."

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