THE clamp down on begging in Wigan town centre continues as reports of nuisance behaviour falls.
A “serial beggar” has now received a town centre banning order.
Wigan Council believe the drop in nuisance behavious is “as a result of Wigan Council and Greater Manchester police working together” to grant the section 222 injunction order and they say that “businesses have noticed a huge difference” and that “residents feel safer in their community.”
Damian Hoban, director at Kings Amusements, said: “All involved in The section 222 order in Wigan Town Centre, from the local business managers, to residents, have pulled together achieving an excellent job for everyone. The PCSO’s involved were both exceptional and key in bringing us all together and educating us on the ideas and methods used. Their hard work on the streets paid off returning our town into a once again, a desirable place to spend time.”
The section 222 injunction order means beggars aren’t allowed to approach people to ask them for money, cause nuisance behaviour which is intimidating and offensive, being drunk and disorderly.
If an individual is caught begging, their details will be recorded and they will be served with a court order. If they continue to breach the order, they will be in contempt of court, which may result in imprisonment.
This is part of sustained efforts to help make Wigan town centre a safer place for the public, and to prevent shoppers and businesses from experiencing aggressive and disruptive behaviour from beggars.
Any individuals found begging will also be referred by partners to The Brick Project, which provides support for homeless and disadvantaged people in the borough and helps them recover and get their lives back on track.
Richard Dutson, 38, of no fixed address, has been known to the police and Wigan Council for the past eight years for various issues associated with drifting from place to place. Between February and May 2015 Mr Dutson has been witnessed many times on CCTV begging in the town centre, moving between Station Café on Wallgate, Poundworld and Game on Standishgate, Wigan Wallgate station and Little Fifteen.
This resulted in him served with a court order and sentence to 56 days imprisonment.
Mr Dutson has been referred to The Brick project on many occasions but continues to beg around the town centre.
A referral has also been made and accepted by the Make Every Adult Matter project, and they will be trying to help Mr Dutson break the cycle and get some training in a temporary tenancy. This is being run in conjunction with some of the dispersed tenancies that Riverside Housing has available.
Councillor Kevin Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environment said: “Wigan Council enforcement officers and Greater Manchester Police work closely to stop anti-social behaviour and aggressive begging from happening in the borough.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that incidents like this are still occurring in Wigan town centre despite the efforts of the police and Wigan Council. I’m pleased there will be severe consequences for anyone who chooses to ignore the order and hope that this will deter beggars in the future.”
Inspector Glenn Jones of the Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), said: “This injunction has been put in place in response to the aggressive begging which sometimes takes place, and which is often seen as intimidating to passers-by. These new powers will help us to deal with the problem swiftly, making Wigan town centre a safer and more appealing place for all.”
Details of the order will be placed in several locations in Wigan town centre. It expires on Friday February 19, 2016.
Anti-social behaviour taking place in the area can be reported to GMP by calling 101 or visiting http://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Crime-Emergencies/Anti-social-behaviour.aspx.