Ipswich: Giving your spare change to beggars could be deadly according to a new campaign launched in town today
PUBLISHED: 14:17 06 August 2014 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 August 2014
A new campaign, backed by the Ipswich Star, has been laucnhed to highlight the dangers of giving money to beggars rather than supporting the homeless through recognised charities.
Suffolk police fear that direct handouts are being used to fuel drink and drug addictions, which could ultimately kill beggars.
They have launched the ‘Your Kindness Could Kill’ project in partnership with other agencies, to encourage shoppers in Ipswich to donate to registered charities that will help find a long-term solution to homelessness.
PCSO Kevin Smith, who started the campaign, said: “When you give them £10 you think it will help but we see how much crime this causes.”
“To buy another £10 worth of drugs they have to steal £100 worth of goods, constantly shop lift, sell their bodies, or burglary, so the cost to society is a lot more.
Sophie Alexander, head of Ipswich Street Rangers, was confident that the campaign will work, and said people’s good will needed to be channelled to the right places.
Former drug addict John Tronson, 29, who was at today’s launch, said: “I know what it’s like when you are on the street and you are addicted, the money you get, you spend on your next fix. It’s not easy when you are addicted to heroin because you don’t want the help, but that support helped me and now look at me, you’d never have thought I used to be addicted.”
Mr Tronson said Ipswich services helped him to get a flat and gym membership and helped him with various applications which have enabled him to turn his life around.
Officers have been targeting begging in the town since Christmas 2013, since then the number of persistent beggars has more than halved from 25 to 10.