Leicester beggars warned by police - accept help or face Asbos
Beggars in Leicester who aggressively hassle people for money could be hit with Asbos, police have warned.
Police said most of the 14 beggars they have dealt with in the past six months were asking for money because of alcohol or drug addiction.
Police at Mansfield House police station are working with Leicester City Council to find ways of helping the worst offenders to overcome their addictions.
In some cases, however, those who refuse offers of help could be issued with Asbos in an effort to force them to curb their behaviour.
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City centre police have received 54 complaints about begging since the beginning of the year.
Sgt Tom Butler, of Mansfield House police station, Belgrave Gate, said: "We think the problem is bigger than that and that people are not calling us because they don't want to bother the police, although they see begging as a nuisance.
"There's a feeling it happens in every city and that it is something we have to put up with.
"Some of the begging goes hand in hand with street drinking and other substance abuse.
"We're looking at ways of getting help for the people who need it, but will take action against those who persist.
"We have dealt with 14 beggars this year. Four of those have been dealt with on more than one occasion and two of them were actually homeless."
Shopper Jay Odedra, 35, said: "A young man approached me and my wife in the city centre last week and was really pushy.
"I wouldn't give him any money because he was only going to spend it on drink."
A city centre shop owner, who asked not to be named, said: "Part of me feels sorry for someone begging on the street.
"Some of the people who beg are okay and seem genuinely in need, but they are the minority in my view.
"There are others who are pushy and, occasionally, out and out aggressive and drunk."