‘Aggressive’ beggars move from Doncaster market

Doncaster market
Doncaster market

Once blighted by beggars, Doncaster market is improving thanks to police work, but one trader says more needs to be done.

Last month, market traders said they have been inundated with problems from drug users, drunks and beggars who frequented the market every day.

But South Yorkshire Police said work to tackle the problem has been effective and the perpetrators have been moved on.

Superintendent Neil Thomas said: “I’ve had positive feedback from market traders that the situation is improving.

“It hasn’t gone away completely, but market traders were very concerned about the effect these people were having on their livelihoods. In the last few weeks, however, they have told us what we are doing is having a positive affect.

“Unfortunately, part of the issue has been dispersed in to the interchange, as this is a problem that we can not solve over night. Once they had been moved on from the market place, one or two people seemed to move themselves to the interchange, but we have increased patrols there too to help deal with the problem.”

He added that the police are trying to help individuals by signposting them to organisations who may be able to help.

“What I don’t want is for people to think we are targeting some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We are making sure they get the help they need. This is not just a police issue and we are working with other authorities, such as Doncaster council, to tackle all parts of the problem.

“We are not taking people off the streets because they are sleeping there, we are taking them off the streets if they are committing public order offences, aggressively begging or abusing alcohol or drugs.”

Doncaster Market Traders’ Federation official Nigel Berry said the situation at the market is currently the best it has been for the past12 months, but still more needs to be done.

“We have seen an increase of PCSOs on patrol in the last two months, and the council have parked a camera van up to deter the beggars. It is working, but the concern is that if this stops they will all come back.

“The problem is that they are just being moved elsewhere, so more needs to be done. Just what can be done, I don’t know, because if somebody is homeless you need to look at all the conditions which have led them to that. It’s like putting a plaster over a massive cut.

“The atmosphere around the market has been much better though.”

A South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) spokesperson, said: “Customer service staff are on site to provide reassurance to passengers and regular users of the Interchange, and any individuals found to be taking part in anti-social behaviour will be escorted from the premises.”

No comment was available from Doncaster council at the time of printing.