Police claim woman ‘making eye contact with passers-by’ is begging and ‘ban her from sitting on ground’

Police are clamping down on begging in Ilford town centre, London

A woman, who was allegedly “making eye contact” with passers-by in a London street, has been banned from sitting on the ground after police considered the act to be a form of begging.

Speaking at a local forum in the London Borough of Redbridge, Ch Insp John Fish said a woman in Ilford “wasn’t holding a sign or holding out her hand, but making eye contact” with members of the public, the Ilford Recorder reports.

“We filmed her and got a CBO (Criminal Behaviour Order) banning her from sitting on the floor,” he added.

Ch Insp Fish said police were clamping down on begging in Ilford town centre, issuing CBOs to individuals who appeared to be seeking money from the public after collecting appropriate evidence.

However, one beggar told the Recorder that while she had been offered support from the police, it had not come to fruition.

Another reportedly told the paper he had been arrested for begging and ordered by a court to pay a £195 fine.

In an effort to tackle begging in the town centre, Redbridge officers held a day of action in September last year.

During the operation officers said they located beggars using CCTV and spoke to them regarding anti-social behaviour as well as offering them advice and directing them to partner agencies for further support.

They said the operation resulted in one man arrested and two men being summoned for begging.

PC Carl Repper, Ilford Town Centre Team, said: "Our work was about stopping begging in the town centre.

"We received a number of complaints that it was having a negative impact on how the town centre was viewed.

"Tackling begging and anti-social behaviour will show people that Ilford Town Centre is not a place where it will be allowed."

Ilford Town Centre Team said they will hold further days of action in the future.

The Independent has contacted The Metropolitan Police for comment.