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Author Topic: Beggars on the railways  (Read 15211 times)
CJB666
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« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2018, 02:47:48 am »

Police investigate Tube 'tissue beggars' link to organised crime

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/police-investigate-tube-tissue-beggars-link-to-organised-crime-a3196671.html

Police are investigating possible links between organised criminal gangs and “tissue beggars” who operate on London’s rail network.

The beggars, often from eastern Europe, are a regular sight on the London Underground where they offer small packets of tissues in exchange for money.

They will normally operate at off-peak times when there are free seats on which to place the packets and a note carrying a plea for financial assistance.

But according to rail staff, in reality many of them may be operating as part of organised criminal networks.
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grahame
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« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2018, 05:14:15 am »

Thank you for the caution.

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 ...

That sounds exactly like what you're supposed to do, which is approach a member of the staff or a member of the BTP. The BTP can be as rare as hen's teeth when you need them!

You stop your story at "I approached the dateline staff", and with the guy hanging around inside the barriers, leaving us wondering "what happened next".    I do appreciate that you may prefer not to tell us.

Safety, including safety from other passengers and a feeling of safety even if something isn't actually a risk, is one of the key things that passengers look to the railways to provide; its's so much assumed and so much delivered that it may not come all that high up passenger surveys which will naturally tend to highlight features that the railway often fails to provide is such satisfaction polls.   I would be very interested to hear other's stories - in "frequent posters" if you prefer ... thread started [here].
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 05:29:44 am by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2018, 08:47:25 pm »

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

When I was at work with the unemployed / sick / elderly etc, one young man came into the office just before we closed for lunch. We all knew him, as it was a small office. He was a decent enough fellow who took on short-term temporary jobs if he could find nothing else, and one of these had ended a week earlier. He told me he didn't have money for food, and I told him to come back after lunch.

We closed up for lunch. As it was Friday, four of us headed across to the pub, where I found him, pint in hand. "I thought you didn't have money for food", I said. "I don't have money for food", he said. "I have money for lager, though."

I bought him another before I went.
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1st fan
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2018, 09:03:11 pm »

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."

At Christmas I was on the Circle Line and two chaps came through playing the accordion and guitar. They were asking for money and lucked out when a lady announced she was a TFL supervisor. She told them to cease and desist before she called the BTP and had them done for begging. They got off at Sloane Square and I assume got on the next one. I've had a tissue seller too but on the Central Line. I got off before they reached my end of the carriage.

I was approached by someone in the West End one night who told me that they were homeless and hadn't had any food all day. He asked for money so that he could buy some food. His lucky day - I'd just been to Tesco and had a bag full of reduced sandwiches. I offered him a choice of them and he said that he didn't eat food people had made. I said they were all sealed and freshly bought so no reason to reject them for that. Then he spotted a couple of the Met's finest behind me and started to walk away. I said quite loudly he couldn't be that hungry if he was turning down food. The police told me that he couldn't use the food to buy other 'things' and that he was known to them.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 09:19:31 pm by 1st fan » Logged
TaplowGreen
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« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2018, 08:10:40 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."

At Christmas I was on the Circle Line and two chaps came through playing the accordion and guitar. They were asking for money and lucked out when a lady announced she was a TFL supervisor. She told them to cease and desist before she called the BTP and had them done for begging. They got off at Sloane Square and I assume got on the next one. I've had a tissue seller too but on the Central Line. I got off before they reached my end of the carriage.

I was approached by someone in the West End one night who told me that they were homeless and hadn't had any food all day. He asked for money so that he could buy some food. His lucky day - I'd just been to Tesco and had a bag full of reduced sandwiches. I offered him a choice of them and he said that he didn't eat food people had made. I said they were all sealed and freshly bought so no reason to reject them for that. Then he spotted a couple of the Met's finest behind me and started to walk away. I said quite loudly he couldn't be that hungry if he was turning down food. The police told me that he couldn't use the food to buy other 'things' and that he was known to them.

I think it's important to distinguish between buskers who add a lot of character to London, are often very talented musicians and who are (and should be) encouraged in many areas, and the packet of tissues brigade.

Don't tar everyone with the same brush.
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plymothian
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« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2018, 01:58:21 pm »

Don't you have to be licenced to busk on TfL and only at designated places?
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1st fan
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« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2018, 03:43:54 pm »

Don't you have to be licenced to busk on TfL and only at designated places?
Yes and she had obviously seen the discomfort felt by some passengers as these musicians walked through the train. I've nothing against people who are authorised to busk doing so at the designated places in stations. I do have an issue with it being done on a train where people can't get away. On the older trains that have individual carriages the drivers would often spot these "musicians" changing carriages and warn people over the PA not to give them money. Nowadays with the walk through trains they are harder to spot as once they're on they can move freely.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2018, 04:46:47 pm »

I recall a driver's announcement something along the lines of 'the guitar player has a Mercedes parked at the end of the line'. She scuttled off at the next stop, probably for the train following.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2018, 06:14:43 pm »

Don't you have to be licenced to busk on TfL and only at designated places?
Yes and she had obviously seen the discomfort felt by some passengers as these musicians walked through the train. I've nothing against people who are authorised to busk doing so at the designated places in stations. I do have an issue with it being done on a train where people can't get away. On the older trains that have individual carriages the drivers would often spot these "musicians" changing carriages and warn people over the PA not to give them money. Nowadays with the walk through trains they are harder to spot as once they're on they can move freely.

There's an element of live and let live here.....sure the tissue brigade are one thing, but if a chap wants to play a guitar or violin to brighten up a dull journey & make a few quid? Why not I say, it adds a bit of character and joy to an environment normally dominated by glum looking people studiously avoiding human contact (myself included!)...........there are a lot worse things going on in the World than Vivaldi on the District Line folks! 🙂
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1st fan
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« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2018, 11:24:30 pm »

Don't you have to be licenced to busk on TfL and only at designated places?
Yes and she had obviously seen the discomfort felt by some passengers as these musicians walked through the train. I've nothing against people who are authorised to busk doing so at the designated places in stations. I do have an issue with it being done on a train where people can't get away. On the older trains that have individual carriages the drivers would often spot these "musicians" changing carriages and warn people over the PA not to give them money. Nowadays with the walk through trains they are harder to spot as once they're on they can move freely.

There's an element of live and let live here.....sure the tissue brigade are one thing, but if a chap wants to play a guitar or violin to brighten up a dull journey & make a few quid? Why not I say, it adds a bit of character and joy to an environment normally dominated by glum looking people studiously avoiding human contact (myself included!)...........there are a lot worse things going on in the World than Vivaldi on the District Line folks! 🙂

A violin would have been different to the accordion one of these two was playing loudly. Oh not forgetting the money tin that was rattled in your face too. There is a bloke who plays the harp sometimes at Knightsbridge in the busking spot and he's fine. Well every time I pass him he's playing "My heart will go on" by Celine Dion which I can't stand but he plays it very well.
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4064ReadingAbbey
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« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2018, 01:03:58 pm »

There were very similar events on the Metro, RER and SNCF when I lived in Paris some twenty years ago. Hoards of eastern European professional beggars started asking for money for all sorts of reasons. One that stood out were women carrying small babies asking for money - the babies seemed to hang limply in the women's arms and children were sent round to collect money from the passengers for 'treatment'. The travelling buskers didn't play violins but used battery powered amplification...

After eighteen months or two years of increasing harassment the authorities clamped down and these professional beggars disappeared practically overnight.
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devonexpress
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« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2018, 03:11:19 pm »

Not exactly on the railway's but at Plymouth station, anyone walking to the City Centre, in the subway underneath the big roundabout(can't remember its name) but you will often find beggars asking for any chance etc. In the morning peaks with people coming from London, Birmingham etc, by the 3pm/4pm they are nowhere to be found.  It also seems to be different people there every day.

Whilst they aren't aggressive, I would have thought if they where homeless they would stay somewhere like that as its sheltered?  Either way please be aware if your visiting Plymouth.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2018, 03:39:56 pm »

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."

At Christmas I was on the Circle Line and two chaps came through playing the accordion and guitar. They were asking for money and lucked out when a lady announced she was a TFL supervisor. She told them to cease and desist before she called the BTP and had them done for begging. They got off at Sloane Square and I assume got on the next one. I've had a tissue seller too but on the Central Line. I got off before they reached my end of the carriage.
OT but to me "lucked out" means "got lucky" rather than "were out of luck".
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2018, 03:53:44 pm »

There were very similar events on the Metro, RER and SNCF when I lived in Paris some twenty years ago. Hoards of eastern European professional beggars started asking for money for all sorts of reasons. One that stood out were women carrying small babies asking for money - the babies seemed to hang limply in the women's arms and children were sent round to collect money from the passengers for 'treatment'. The travelling buskers didn't play violins but used battery powered amplification...

After eighteen months or two years of increasing harassment the authorities clamped down and these professional beggars disappeared practically overnight.

The French authorities have a rather more....ahem....robust attitude to these issues. I shall never forget a trip to Paris for the France v England rugby match whilst everything was kicking off in the Balkans.........we were in a bar in Place Pigalle (keeping it classy as ever!) and there was a young Kosovan girl begging on the other side of the road - late teens I would have thought - we had spoken to her a little earlier and given her a few coins.

Along comes a CRS van, "the lads" pile out, have a quick look around and promptly piled into her, kicking, punching etc before chucking her into the back of the van..........one of our number was a middle ranking Police Officer who happened to speak French and was disgusted by what he was seeing - despite the advice of the bar staff to desist, he ran across the road to intervene, and was stopped short by one of the French CRS guys pointing a gun at him and telling him in no uncertain terms to mind his own business.

Along with England being heavily defeated, that has always stuck in my mind.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #29 on: April 26, 2018, 05:48:49 pm »

I'm somewhat ambivalent about beggars using "food money" for drugs. Despite (or maybe because of?) being a rather un-druggy person (never smoked, drink little, don't do any other drugs, or gambling) I can easily envisage sinking myself into drugs of some sort if I ever became homeless. But it's not socially acceptable to do so, particularly if the drug that works for you is something other than alcohol or tobacco. So I can't really blame people in that situation for claiming money is needed for food when it's actually for drugs. Pretending to be homeless when you're not, OTOH, is not something I can view with any leniency. FWIW (nothing to do with railways) I've just been reading a book of the travels of a 19th century British woman in China, and she had quite a lot to say about opium use and its effects both on individuals and society (none of it good, and not good about the sellers either).
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