Liverpudlians who give money to homeless people have been presented with a stark message from city leaders: "your kindness could kill".
A new campaign aimed at curbing the "misplaced generosity" of people giving cash to beggars has been launched, supported by Merseyside Police and Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS).
The council and senior police say that people should instead give to charities, claiming there were between 20 to 30 persistent beggars in the city who have "refused" help.
LCVS representatives took to city centre streets armed with buckets and information for the first Your Kindness Could Kill collection, with further collections planned on 12, 14 and 19 December.
The council stressed that the "majority" of the city's beggars were not sleeping rough, claiming that there were just "one or two" homeless people without nighttime accommodation. In 2012 and 2013, the city council say six people were sleeping rough, while in 2011, the figure was nine.
Councillor Peter Brennan said that while residents of Liverpool are "renowned for their generosity" and do not hesitate to "put their hands in their pockets" when they see someone in need, they may be inadvertently causing more harm than good.
"Without realising it, they are keeping beggars in their way of life which will result in the majority of them feeding an addiction and not addressing their underlying problems," he said.
"All have been offered help but have refused to take up that offer."
The donations collected by LCVS will be distributed between four local charities: The Whitechapel Centre, The Basement, Young People's Advisory Service and the Liverpool Homeless Football Team.