Illegal street beggars in one UK city are raking in up to £36,000 a YEAR, police revealed today.
Scroungers in Nottingham boast they are pocketing up to £700 a week and are even spending some of their nights sleeping in HOTELS.
One picky tramp is making so much cash he throws away food he doesn’t want and gets around the city by TAXI.
Shockingly, at least eight of the beggars around the East Midlands city are not even homeless as they callously cash-in from kind-hearted shoppers.
Some of them have started posing as Big Issue sellers as they rake in the equivalent #20 an hour.
Nottinghamshire Police yesterday warned unsuspecting Christmas shoppers and office workers in the city to be aware of illegal beggars.
Sergeant Huw Jones said: “One of the men boasts frequently about how much money he makes on a daily basis.
“This usually adds up to a total of between #600 to #700 per week.
“We believe this man is not an official Big Issue magazine vendor but he ‘sells’ the magazine in the city centre and then begs off the back of the sale.”
He said another man can seen wandering the streets carrying a sleeping bag – something he does only for effect.
Sgt Jones added: “His appearance is unkempt and dishevelled but this is an image that he portrays to gain public sympathy.
“This man is often approached by the unsuspecting public who give him money or they buy him food, which he does not eat.
“He has been seen throwing the food away and discarding any drinks bought for him.
“When he was arrested last week he had five pasties in his possession. He also had #52 cash.”
But yesterday one beggar in the city centre – who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals – said not all of them make that kind of money.
The 57-year-old said: “We don’t all make that sort of cash and genuinely need the help.
“Some of them are just con men who have come in and are muscling in on our patches.
“There’s nothing we can do about it – they are very aggressive and not the sort of people you want to cross.”
Jason Marriott, manager of charity Frameworks, which works directly with rough sleepers, added: “Not everyone who begs sleeps rough and not everybody who sleeps rough begs – in fact the majority do not.
“People who beg, even if they are not sleeping rough, do so mainly as a result of significant personal and social issues.”
The Big Issue magazine is sold by the homeless – who wear tabards and badges – so they can build an income of their own.
Holly O’Connor, Nottingham manager for the magazine said: “Recently we have seen more and more rogue sellers in the city centre.
“They normally attempt to sell a rolled-up copy of the magazine.
“Once someone has paid they might say ‘oh this is my last one, can I keep it?’ – genuine vendors don’t do this.”
Notts Police confirmed that three people had been charged in the city in recent weeks with fraud in connection with falsely selling the Big Issue.