A man in North Street with his decorated Christmas tree and ornaments
TRADERS and taxi drivers say homelessness is harming the city’s image.
Many rough sleepers in North Street, Brighton, have put up festive decorations in the run-up to Christmas to encourage donations.
But businesses in The Lanes are worried some of their behaviour is putting off customers. One trader has even received a death threat.
The manager of Camelot Diamonds in Meeting House Lane, who asked not to be named, said: “Some of them leave a lot of mess. It takes half an hour at a time to clear up. I don’t think it’s nice for Brighton or The Lanes.
“I’ve spoken to other business people around here and they’re not happy either.”
He said a homeless man had told him “you’re a dead man” after a row. He said the police had dealt with the matter at the time.
Taxi driver Robert Joachimiak, 34, said the problem had got worse over the 12 years he has been working here.
“There are definitely more homeless than there used to be,” he said.
“I’m not sure the police are doing anything about it.”
He said he had been attacked by a rough sleeper while on a night out.
Bryan Standen, 70, also works at the East Street taxi rank in the city centre.
“Some are genuinely sad cases,” he said.
“I’m sympathetic to anyone who’s had bad luck. But some of them don’t want to help themselves. It’s a massive problem and I don’t know what the answer is.”
Bartender Dean Rock, 25, who works at the Pump House in Market Street, said the homeless community did not pose a problem for pub staff.
But he said there had been a number of cases of antisocial behaviour in North Street.
He said: “They can get abusive if you don’t give them change or cigarettes. You’re called every name under the sun.”
One rough sleeper in North Street said drug addiction was common in the area.
A homeless man on the seafront said he had recently been beaten up by two other homeless men who wanted to mug him.
There are currently 178 registered rough sleepers in Brighton.
A council spokesman said: “The city council is committed to effectively tackling and resolving nuisance and antisocial behaviour throughout the city. We work with the police, businesses, traders and other agencies to deal with the issues.
“We encourage anyone who experiences antisocial behaviour to report the details so they can be looked into. Incidents can be reported to the council online, to our housing and environmental teams or the police.”
Source: The Argus