“Aggressive begging in Southend town centre is putting off shoppers, it is claimed.
Despite one man being jailed and 15 professional beggars being banned some visitors have had enough and are refusing to return.”
I wish I had the option! I manage to avoid most of the worst of them by going in to work early, but the town has changed in the last ten years, quite dramatically.
“Mum-of-two Kate McRae said: “I was taking my disabled mother into town and I dropped her off at Primark in the Royals.
“I had my youngest daughter, who is 19-months-old, in her buggy.
“I was approached three times. They were extremely aggressive.
“The first one, when I said no, pointed to the cash machine and said ‘get money out for me’.
“I felt quite intimidated when he started shouting at me.””
And of course, the ‘street rangers’ are never anywhere to be found. As for real police, well, don’t make me laugh!
“Southend Council is launching a campaign to combat the problem, in conjunction with police and BID, but for some it is too late.
Christine Coulthart, another mum-of-two from Southchurch, said: “My last visit to town put me off for good.
“It does not feel safe to go to town. And it’s certainly not good for tourism either.””
I wonder why Southend has such a problem in the first place?
“Attempts are being made to help those truly homeless and those in need with support services such as Southend Treatment and Rehabilitation Service.
Gill Garwood, chief executive of homeless charity Harp, said the charity is trying to build trust and help those in real need.”
Any honest pest control company will tell you it’s not enough to simply hire them to remove the problem – you have to remove whatever it is that’s drawing the problem critter in by encouraging it to view your home as an attraction.
So, how about it, Southend Council?