Norwich street begging crackdown: Police issue 10 notices to leave the city

Begging and homelessness is on the rise. Rough sleepers have doubled since 2010. Picture: Brian Lawl

Begging and homelessness is on the rise. Rough sleepers have doubled since 2010. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Aggressive beggars and street drinkers in Norwich have been targeted by police as part of a crackdown after calls by the public to tackle the blight.

Officers have been out in force in the city in a bid to stop shoppers and families from being harassed by anti-social street beggars and drinkers.

Police have the power to eject offenders from inside the inner ring road for up to 48 hours with those who ignore the Section 35 order facing arrest.

By 4pm on Sunday, July 16 police had handed out 10 directions to leave notices, at least half of which were given to people for begging.

The rest of the notices were given to people for shouting, swearing and street drinking.

Most of the notices were issued to people in the London Street and Haymarket areas of the city while one person, suspected of begging, was also caught in the St Stephen's Street underpass.

One person was arrested on Saturday night for breaching a criminal behaviour order imposed for begging while police also made another arrest for begging over the weekend.

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Three people given Section 35 notices were reported for summons to court, two of which were for begging and the third was for breaching a criminal anti-social behaviour order (CRASBO) which banned them from having an open can of alcohol in public.

In addition to the anti-social behaviour clampdown, police also made one arrest for a public order offence while another person, a man in his 30s, was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

He was taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre (PIC) where he will be interviewed.

The crackdown follows an increase in the number of complaints of anti-social behaviour involving aggressive begging and street drinking - and a recent public vote to make the two issues a priority for the Norwich East Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT).

Sgt Mark Shepherd from the SNT said it had been a 'good day' but insisted the blitz would continue.

He said: 'People are fed up with it, that's why the crackdown is on.

'Anti-social behaviour won't be tolerated in the city. People should be able to come to Norwich without the harassment.'

The crackdown comes after the launch of Operation Wormington at the end of last year.

The operation has to date seen more than 100 warnings issued to persistent street beggars in Norwich.

To contact your SNT call 101.