Accusations Rough Sleeper's Belongings Taken By Council

The Council strongly denies claims made on facebook they are 'stealing' tents but confirms they have removed tents after complaints from local residents and businesses.

In a recent freedom of information request it was confirmed there has been two incidents last year where fines of £25 were paid, one even by the Salvation Army, for the return of property removed from homeless people by the council 

There's been futher accusations Brighton council street cleaning staff have removed homeless people's property - including tents.

David Freely from 'Homeless to Homed' in the city has raised the issue on social media and spoke to us about his concerns.

He posted on a community Facebook page his concerns saying: "Three days ago Brighton and Hove City Council along with City Clean Depot, stole Matty's tent in broad daylight. They also stole another four homeless humans tents from the side of Prince Regent's complex"

At the end of last year the homeless man referred to also reported his ID documents had been taken from Queens Park where he was camping.

Brighton and Hove city council dispute Mr Freely's choice of words but agree tents have been removed from the area mentioned over the last week.

A spokesperson for Brighton and Hove city council said:

“We do not, as claimed by David Freeley in his Facebook post, ‘steal tents from the homeless’ nor have we ever stolen anyone’s drivers’ licence or passport. Mr Freeley’s accusations are totally misleading and false.

“In this case the tent was removed after complaints from local residents and businesses. Sleeping in tents is not safe or healthy for people and we will do all we can to advise on better alternatives.” 

A spokesperson added:

“We do sometimes remove tents, particularly where we have reports of anti-social behaviour, but we follow a clear set of guidelines that have been agreed with the police, St Mungo’s and other agencies.

“If the tent is occupied, we explain to the occupants that camping is not allowed, issue a no camping notice and record all actions. Homeless agencies then visit the encampment to offer support. If the camp remains, then we have to remove the tents and the occupants as required by by-laws.

“If the tent is unoccupied, we issue a notice to remove. After a minimum of 12 hours we then photograph and remove the tent and belongings. We keep a full inventory of everything we remove which is stored safely for up to 28 days if unclaimed before then. 

“A note is left saying where the items were taken and giving information on how they can be claimed. 

“A storage charge of £25 will be payable. This charge is waived if the items are later claimed by someone who needs their belongings and was unable to pay due to living rough. Only two tents have ever been claimed back, as often they are not left in a fit state to use.”

David Freely's organization Homeless to Homed has recently completed a project to transform a donated double decker bus into a mobile night shelter for the Brighton community.

David  is now applying for permission for a modular community (designs pictured above) which could be sited near Black Rock, if planners give the go-ahead.

Find out more here about the aims of the organisation and how you can get involved with helping Brighton's homeless community become self sufficient again.

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