Aggressive beggars outside Hainault convenience store
- Credit: Archant
Beleagured Hainault residents who claim to have suffered years of aggressive begging outside a row of neighbourhood shops are calling on police officers and the council to tackle the problem.
Staff and customers of Nisa Extra, in Manford Way, have complained to police and the council about a group of beggars demanding money outside their store.
Balembra Masilamani, the shop’s administrator, has worked at the Nisa Express since it opened nine years ago and spoke to the Recorder about a recent incident.
“This problem has been going on for two years and it keeps getting worse,” he said.
“Two weeks ago, when I stepped in the store, [a beggar] was having a problem with a regular customer,”
“He was asking him for money and they were about to fight and I said: ‘please don’t fight!’”
“We brought the customer into the store to avoid any fights - things got very aggressive.”
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“[The beggar] tried to punch the customer and then tried to punch me.”
Mr Masilamani said that there are now five beggars who take it turns outside the store and, in some instances, there will sometimes be as many as three there together at once.
The Recorder has also seen video footage filmed by a local resident showing a man wearing a blue track suit approaching two customers entering and exiting the shop.
They decline his advances and quickly turn away.
A Redbridge Council spokeswoman said the council work closely with the police to identify beggars so we can offer support around problems that link to begging.
She added: “As Manford Way is not in a Public Space Protection Order we have limited powers but we will contact the police who would have to take the appropriate measures.”
A police spokesman said: “Aggressive begging is one of the policing priorities for Safer Neighbourhoods officers in the Redbridge area due to local community concerns and associated criminal matters such as shoplifting.
“Officers are aware of reports of aggressive begging in the Manford Way area and have responded to incidents when reported.
“However there have been no arrests.
“Anyone who experiences aggressive begging is advised to call police on 101.”