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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Coming out of Lockdown

I hope you have all found time to get away with family and friends as we have been coming out of lockdown. Our city streets, shops, pubs and cafes have all become busier with visitors and the local community. Please remain respectful of those who continue to wear masks and social distance as many still feel vulnerable and are unsure of their own safety and health as we all try to get back to pre Covid normality.

With the increase of people out and about please try and keep your personal items such as wallets, purses, mobile phones etc, safe, secure and out of sight. We have seen an increase in opportunist thieves, who look to steal these items as you go about your daily business in our city. Along with these thefts we have also seen an increased number of organised beggars entering the city, these individuals travel down from Bristol with a Mendip Flyer day ticket, then sit on the ground in the Bus station, Market Street or High Street usually with a cardboard sign stating they are homeless and hungry. We have linked a number of these individuals who have targeted the Mendip City and towns to conduct their begging, This is an offence under the Vagrancy Act of 1824, your local neighbourhood team engage with these individuals asking about their welfare, food, water, health, then we sign post them to local charities who can assist with food, clothing, washing facilities housing and finances they are handed this information in writing. We advise them that their activity is illegal and they need to stop doing it in Wells, they are given a verbal warning and asked to leave the city. If the same person is found a second time we follow the same procedure and give them a written warning and they are advised if they are found a third time they risk being arrested and reported to court for the offence of Begging.

Please refrain from given money to these individuals as this encourages more to attend our city, if you really wish to help then give food and drink or donate money to formal charities who work toward sustainable answers for these individuals.

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