Police in York have advised people not to give money to people begging on the city’s streets, saying that they may not actually be homeless.
The police said they have recently received reports of people on the city’s streets refusing offers of food, drink and accommodation.
They also highlighted that in the past they have identified individuals on the streets who in fact have accommodation and benefits and are misleading members of the public “for financial gain”.
They then advised people “NOT to give money directly” and instead urged people to donate to homeless charities.
In a statement on their Facebook page today (Tuesday), York City Police wrote: “We have recently received several reports of individuals who are rough sleeping, turning down offers of free food, drinks and accommodation.
“Some of these individuals are receiving on going support from homeless charities and partner agencies. Others are unfortunately refusing support all together. We want to support the partner agencies but also prevent fraud and criminality.
“We have identified individuals currently and in the past who have accommodation, and benefits! They want people to believe they are homeless/rough sleeping. This can be solely for financial gain.
“We advise NOT to give money directly, as this can feed alcohol and drug addictions.”
They also provided links to a number of homeless charities including SASH and Kitchen for Everyone and urged people who wish to give money to donate to them.
The number for the Salvation Army in York was also provided for anyone concerned about a homeless person in the city, which is 01904 416562.