Stop and think: Advice to Leeds commuters as part of begging crackdown

Coun Mark Dobson, Sophie Foster from Leeds Street Outreach services and Chief Insp Phil Wiggins at Leeds station. PIC: Simon Hulme
Coun Mark Dobson, Sophie Foster from Leeds Street Outreach services and Chief Insp Phil Wiggins at Leeds station. PIC: Simon Hulme
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Commuters in Leeds have been given information on how to support the homeless as part of a new crackdown on begging in the city,

Visitors to Leeds railway station were given advice on how to support charities rather than giving money to beggars in the street.

The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed earlier this year that a new police hit squad is carrying out daily sweeps of Leeds city centre aimed at ridding the streets of beggars within a year.

Leeds City Council has secured an injunction, which means that any individual served with the order will be unable to beg in any part of the city centre or train station. If they breach the order, hearings will be fast tracked to the county court, where they could face prison or a fine.

The strategy is aimed at cracking down on a hard core of ‘fake beggars’, who can earn up to £600 every week by targeting unsuspecting shoppers, tourists and clubbers.

Mirfield.  4th February 1976''Battling Thomas, Mirfield Station's official cat, gets a meal from leading railwayman Nigel Stead today after a successful drive to raise cash to pay his vet's bill.''Thomas got into a scrap and lost an eye . . . but there was no cash in the kitty to pay the vet's bill.''So Thomas's friends a the station put up the notice in the picture asking for gifts.  Now after just a week they received �10.50 towards the �27.50 bill.''Thomas, who wandered into the station 12 years ago as a half-starved stray, is on the British Rail payroll.''Each month he receives an official allowance of �1.60 to pay for his weeekly fare of a pinta and five tins of meat.  On top of that Mrs. Barbara Ward, who works at Batley Station, sends an express delivery of half a pound of minced meat.''Mr. Stead (26), who is honorary keeper of the cat, said "He lost his eye in late December.  The bill was larger than we expected, so we invited donations.  British Rail has promised to make up any shortfall."

Yorkshire nostalgia: The stray cat who lost an eye and ended up earning £1.60 a week from British Rail