Leeds offers a solution to beggars in the city centre

A new campaign to tackle begging in the city centre of Leeds is being launched.

Leeds City Council in partnership with a number of agencies across Leeds are raising awareness of begging being a crime and one that will not be tolerated in the city centre.

The message of the campaign is that there is always an alternative and that passers-by should not be funding a bad habit.

Ant, a formerly homeless beggar in Leeds, said:

“There are some people who will beg for food and drink but the vast majority will beg for drink and drugs’.

Officers from City Neighbourhood Policing Team and BTP regularly patrol with the Crime Reduction Initiative (CRI) Street Outreach Team to seek out rough sleepers and beggars, and take appropriate action based on each individual's risks and needs.

There are also many agencies in Leeds including CRI Leeds Street Outreach team, St George’s Crypt, St Anne’s Community Service, The Big Issue in the North Trust, Emmaus Leeds and Simon on the Streets that offer services for rough sleepers.

Councillor Peter Gruen, chair of Safer Leeds said:

“To make a difference, and instead of giving money to beggars, people can donate to one of the agencies offering free services to people in hardship. Just £2 will provide a free hot meal for someone and £25 will provide someone a free bed for the night.

“I fully support organisations that help people, but is has to be remembered that begging is a crime, and not one that will be tolerated in the city centre.

“It can cause distress to members of the public, and most of the beggars in Leeds are not sleeping rough.

“There are a number of services in Leeds which deliver a wide range of services for people including free food, free shelter, free advice and support.”

Anyone concerned about someone sleeping rough can call the CRI Street Outreach Team on

Tel 0113 245 9445 or during out of office hours the Council Emergency Duty Team on Tel: 0113 2409536.

Notes to editors;

For more information on the free services provided to rough sleepers in Leeds please visit the following websites:

CRI Leeds Street Outreach Team www.cri.org.uk

St Georges Crypt www.stgeorgescrypt.org.uk

St Anne’s Community Services www.st-annes.org.uk

The Big Issue in the north Trust www.bigissuesinthenorth.com

Emmaus Leeds www.emmaus.org.uk/leeds

Simon on the Streets www.simononthestreets.co.uk


For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk