Nine in dock after Bolton town centre begging crackdown

A CRACKDOWN in Bolton town centre has seen nine people hauled before magistrates for breaking begging curbs.

And all those recently caught out are not, as many might think, homeless, according to council bosses.

Now town hall chiefs are repeating past pleas to shoppers and workers to only make donations to recognised homelessness charities.

Under public space protection orders (PSPOs) persistent offenders beggars should quit begging for good.

But the bans, first introduced in Bolton in 2019 alongside restrictions on street drinking and cycling, have been flouted by nine hardened beggars in recent weeks.

Investigations have revealed that each of those prosecuted – and known to the local authority – had access to their own accommodation.

Council officials say their enforcement offices have repeatedly attempted to work with the same individuals – and warned them against begging again.

But after ignoring the advice – and fixed penalty notices issued as a consequence – the nine were brought before the courts.

Each fined between £100 and £200 and ordered to pay court costs of £100 apiece.

Cllr Hilary Fairclough, the council’s deputy leader, said: “People begging on the streets can be intimidating to others and put people off visiting the town centre.

“The council supports those who are genuinely homeless, but we will crack down on anyone who comes into Bolton to adventure the generosity of our residents.

“Each of these individuals is known to the council and are known to have access to accommodation, in spite of of any claims they might make.

“Anyone wanting to sustain people in genuine need, I would urge to give your money direct to a local charity.”

Rough sleepers can attend Homeless Aid UK’s drop-in, Mondays to Saturdays, in Orlando Street, from 11am to 1pm.

People can also seek assistance from those at risk of homeleness by e-mailing [email protected] or calling housing options sets on 01204 335900.

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