Hopes for homeless ID to stop ‘professional beggars’ making three-figure sums of cash in Ipswich

Gareth Brenland, from Holbrook. Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Gareth Brenland, from Holbrook. Picture: SEANA HUGHES - Credit: Seana Hughes

Homeless people in Ipswich may carry identification in the future in order to set them apart from “professional beggars”.

The upper deck of the Ipswich night shelter bus. Picture: GARETH BRENLAND

The upper deck of the Ipswich night shelter bus. Picture: GARETH BRENLAND - Credit: Archant

Gareth Brenland is in the process of turning a bus into a night shelter for rough sleepers in the town and he hopes to roll out the ID scheme for his service users.

He said: “We have been told especially on a Friday or Saturday night people make a three-figure sum, so there are definitely professional beggars in amongst them.

“It will never get rid of it, but it’s something that can highlight the rough sleepers from the professionals who go home to a bed at the end of the night.”

Mr Brenland said the ID could come in the form of a card or wristband.

At the end of last year, Mr Brenland and wife Sarah Jane, from Holbrook, announced plans to transform a disused double-decker into a hostel for people living on the streets of Ipswich.

In total they have collected around £10,000 in donations for the project, and Mr Brenland said the bus was nearing completion.

When it is ready, the bus will be able to sleep 14 people per night and Mr Brenland said the aim was to work with the service users for as long as they needed in order to get them into permanent housing.

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The bus will be called Tiffers, after Mr and Mrs Brenland’s teenager daughter, Tiffani.

The couple have also opened a second-hand shop in Upper Orwell Street, selling items donated by members of the public to generate cash for the day-to-day running of the shelter.

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