Leeds City Council have explained why tents belonging to rough sleepers are disposed of following an outcry on Facebook.
The council faced criticism after a photo was posted on social media appearing to show two tents being thrown into a refuse truck on Briggate in the city centre.
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Many people commenting described the action as 'cruel' and 'heartless' and queried where the owners of the tents would be able to go once their shelter had been taken away.
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Others defended the council, pointing out that the tents presented a health and safety hazard on one of Leeds' busiest pedestrian thoroughfares and that accommodation is available in hostels for those in need.
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Leeds City Council have since confirmed that one of the men sleeping in the tents has a known address and receives benefits payments.
"Our street support team found two tents on Briggate on Thursday morning, one of which was unoccupied and the other containing two individuals. The individual who claimed ownership of the tent is known to have a residence and to be in receipt of appropriate benefits - they were consequently asked to remove the tent and move on. Both individuals left the tent which, along with the empty tent, was removed.
“We work in partnership with a range of services to ensure all available help is offered to those found rough sleeping in the city. However not everyone feels able or willing to take up offers of help so we continue to engage with these individuals. Where tents are found unoccupied or present an obstruction or hazard (such as those containing drug paraphernalia) we have a policy to remove them.”