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So-called professional beggars are earning up to £200 a night on the streets, it has ben revealed. Skip related content
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Street beggars earning £200 a night
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And police in Leicestershire added that numbers were growing and officers had cautioned 20 people for begging in the city centre in the first two weeks of a scheme to tackle the problem.
Officers discovered none of them were homeless.
Toni Soni, head of hostel services at Leicester City Council, said previous joint operations operations by them and police found no beggars to be homeless.
He said: "There are people who are actually professional beggars who are doing it to make a living. If we did find that they were rough sleepers we would obviously attempt to engage them in our support services."
It emerged one woman begged at night after her day job to fund a new kitchen in her flat.
Sergeant Adrian Underwood, of Leicestershire police, said some people could earn up to £200 begging on a Friday or Saturday night.
He told the Leicester Mercury: "We have intelligence that there is a woman who is begging because she wants a new kitchen for her flat. A lot of well-intentioned people see someone begging and think they are deserving causes. Would they give them money if they knew that person had just come out of a flat, was receiving benefits and had food in the larder?"
Previously Leicester Police announced a "three strikes and you're out" approach to begging after it emerged as a major concern for people living, working and shopping in the city.
As part of the drive, people seen begging are given a formal warning and their details taken by officers. If they are seen again then a second warning is issued by police and on a third occasion they can be arrested and prosecuted.