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Author Topic: Beggars on the railways  (Read 19642 times)
Brucey
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« on: July 14, 2013, 09:29:50 am »

A first for me yesterday, in the UK anyway.  A man came onboard our Piccadilly Line train and placed a small packet of tissues on the seat next to each person, with a message attached "I have lost my job, I have no money.  Please give generously and I will pray for you and your family.  Thank you."

No-one in my carriage "bought" any tissues from him.  At the next stop, he collected the tissues and moved on to the next carriage where someone did give him some money.

Now I've seen this before abroad where it seems to be tolerated.  But in the UK, begging is illegal.  Someone must have told him to sell something, then he is no longer begging.  However, that is also illegal under the railway and TfL byelaws.

What's the right thing to do?  Inform station staff somewhere?  Contact the BTP?  Or just ignore it?
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bobm
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2013, 09:39:44 am »

I usually ignore them and never give to them.

The only time I have reported one was when he approached me at Paddington twice within a week and claimed his wallet had been stolen and he had to get home to Reading.  To have your wallet stolen once in a week is unfortunate, twice is .....

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bignosemac
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2013, 10:04:17 am »

I occasionally give, but not when approached or badgered.

Having been briefly homeless I have some empathy.

There but for the grace of <insert deity>.
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2013, 11:58:06 am »

If I am asked if I can spare some change, I take all my change out of my pocket. I look at it briefly, then I say "No", and put it back in my pocket.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2013, 01:50:22 pm »

It's very easy to demonise society's less fortunates. I'd argue that a fair proportion of them are in their particular situation through little fault of their own. People do fall through the safety net. Just the other day I was chatting to a 'Big Issue' seller who was a second Gulf War veteran. PTSD and marriage breakdown and his home is now the Sally Ann hostel in Bristol. Prior to securing a room there he was a rough sleeper for 9 months, occasionally getting into the night shelter if he was lucky.

Saying "no" is fine, but rooting through your pockets, pulling out a handful of change and then saying "no" is just spiteful. Deliberately done to reinforce a sense of superiority. Angry
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2013, 02:12:59 pm »

Saying "no" is fine, but rooting through your pockets, pulling out a handful of change and then saying "no" is just spiteful. Deliberately done to reinforce a sense of superiority. Angry

No, I do it for the laughs.
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2013, 03:56:07 pm »

I have worked with recovering addicts and the homeless for many years and my advice is never hand over cash.  If you think they're genuine and you are inclined to help, then, if practical, offer to buy a sandwich or something practical to help.  If it is not practical, or you are not inclined to help, then I'm not sure that laughing at someone else's misfortune adds the sum of joy in our world.  I find beggars annoying, but if anyone actually believes that it is a career choice, then their own understanding and experience of people may be limited to certain media stereotypes.

If beggars are agressively annoying on a train, then I would report it as it should be a safe environment to travel in.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2013, 04:21:28 pm »

Driver announcement I heard many years ago on the District: 'I see we have the beggar on the train again. Don't be worried, she has a Mercedes parked at Richmond.'
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2013, 05:09:54 pm »

I think I had better set the record straight, before I start receiving dog poo through the letter box. I too have worked with some of life's unfortunates, both within prisons and outside. I have also lived rough in the distant past for a few months, though never begging. I did what I described once, and felt a bit rotten after. But please don't begrudge an old man his little joke.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2013, 08:06:57 pm »

Driver announcement I heard many years ago on the District: 'I see we have the beggar on the train again. Don't be worried, she has a Mercedes parked at Richmond.'

I was staying in a Premier Inn style hotel in Bristol, (wasn't premier inn but cant remember which brand) and had been spoken  to by 2 beggars/ buskers when I entered the hotel. When I was going out for an evening meal I watched these 2 individuals who were dressed really scruffy, loading up and drive off in a brand new BMW estate. Obviously making a good living, and probably mostly tax free!

Also really annoy them by giving them small foreign change, I put some 1 cent coins in a beggars pot recently in Somerset, and he looked happy until he spotted the coins I'd placed in his pot, and then he looked really p**sed off with me
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Southern Stag
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2013, 08:16:53 pm »


The only time I have reported one was when he approached me at Paddington twice within a week and claimed his wallet had been stolen and he had to get home to Reading.  To have your wallet stolen once in a week is unfortunate, twice is .....

I had similar recently. Twice in one week stopped by a guy needing to make an urgent phone call. He'd been waiting a long time to make that phone call, can't have been that urgent. I don't normally give money to beggars, but if I do it's unlikely to be to one who comes up to me and hassles me with a story.
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adc82140
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2013, 08:20:23 pm »

There was an infamous tube driver's announcement that circulated the web a few years back:

Something like "there are beggars operating on this train. Begging is illegal, please do not give anything to them- please give your money to a registered charity, or failing that give it to me"
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thetrout
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« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2013, 05:16:21 pm »

I too once came close to being homeless, It was a rough time for me around 5 years ago but fortunately things didn't get as bad as I thought. I ended up living in an open rehabilitation centre for Mental Health. People call me a snob sometimes, however I can assure anyone I am NOT! Yes I may have been brought up in a well off family, but if you'd seen have the places I have lived/stayed during that time, you'd realise very quickly that I am probably one of the least snobby people you'll meet!

I have also done work for various charities and have in the past year become fairly active in Young Persons organisations in my local town/county. Including doing the Frome Sleep Easy which was an event run by the YMCA where we were sponsored to sleep outside in a Basket Ball court to raise money towards Young Person Homeless issues in Frome. The tag line was "Sleeping rough so others don't have to" Here is a link if anyone is interested. Sadly I am omitted from the photograph due to a comfort break. I also did this on the eve of my Birthday. So not only do I have a HST and a Class 90 as somewhere I turned an age, Now a basket ball court... Roll Eyes http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Sleeping-rough-Frome-opens-eyes-plight-homeless/story-18870551-detail/story.html

I was the only one who actually slept that night. But with sedating long term medication that came as no surprise... Roll Eyes Embarrassed Lips sealed

My view is that if approached by a homeless person with a life story. I would never hand over cash... It would probably be used for a drug habit. I don't wish to stereotype, but in this case it is mostly true. I was once ejected from a Public Loo in Bath City Centre because 2 homeless men decided they wanted to use the cubical to take drugs, negating the fact there were 3 other cubicles. That was one of the only occasions I called the Old Bill. It wasn't the fact they wanted to do the drugs. It was the fact they opened to door from the outside!!! Angry Angry Angry

If however I had one to hand and I normally do to be fair as I drink a lot of coffee, I would offer a Free Coffee Voucher for McDonalds/SUBWAY/BurgerKing etc. A genuine case will not turn that offer down and it is accepted. If you receive a load of abuse in return, then their case is not genuine or they want money for alcohol/smokes/drugs etc.

I also partly refuse to help a homeless who approaches me whilst smoking/drinking a 2 litre bottle of Blackthorn/Thatchers etc. If they had the money to buy ciggies/alcohol, then they had the choice to buy something to eat! In their situation I know which one I'd choose! Lips sealed Embarrassed Undecided

Whilst yes that may seem controversial to say as they may not have bought it. But it doesn't look very good from our aspect I suppose...
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Grin Grin Grin Grin
CJB666
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2018, 02:33:49 am »

It seems that the Reading trains are regularly targeted by these tissue sellers - mainly young women usually with a 'baby on board' badge. But beware of their aggressive male 'protectors' - who - I was warned by BTP - might be carrying knives.

Yesterday on a GWR train to Paddington I was approached by a young women, she thrust a packet of tissues into my face with the note requesting money, whist I was making a private phone call. I told her 'no,' and that it was illegal. She persisted - evidently she failed to understand English. I said 'no' again, that 'it was illegal' and that 'I'd call the police.'  Unfortunately her 'protectors' were a group of 4 guys sitting a few seats away, to whom she went over to and said something. They took immediate exception to my attitude towards her. They gave me some verbal in what I assumed was Romanian.
 
When we got to Paddington one of the guys followed me to the gateline still giving me verbal. I went through. And approached one of the gateline staff and explained that I was being harassed by four foreign males whom I assumed to be Romanian. Strangely the Romanian guy did not follow me through the gates but stood blocking one of them with a crowd building up behind him, which I thought was a bit strange. But quite likely he didn't actually have a ticket because he was going to go back to Reading with his mates (gang?) and the woman.

I found this all quite aggressive, and went home via SWR from Waterloo.

I noted that CCTV is a protector against false claims of assault against these sc$m. But they're unlikely to report anything themselves being that they are acting against the law in selling these damn tissues in the first place.

Beware.
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CJB666
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2018, 02:44:14 am »

BTP says at:

http://www.btp.police.uk/advice_and_information-2/tackling_crime/tissue_begging.aspx

Both plying a trade and begging on board a train or at a station are both offences under the Railway Byelaws (7.2).

What you can do

Please do not encourage tissue selling if you see it on your journey. Instead, text us on 61016 with:

*  The service you’re travelling on
*  The carriage you’re travelling in
*  How many are involved
*  Their description(s)
*  Any other information that can help us

We’ll text you back with any further information required and updates.

Alternatively, report it to us on 0800 40 50 40
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