Selfridges installs 'inhumane' anti-homeless spikes outside Manchester store

Department store has defended its choice, claiming that the spikes discourage 'litter' and 'smokers' after customers complained

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The Independent Online

Selfridges has been condemned by campaigners for installing “inhumane” ‘anti-homeless spikes’ outside their flagship Manchester store.

The Manchester department store, which stocks luxury fashion items, and is one of two outlets of the famous London store in the city, has defended its decision to install the spikes.

A spokesperson for the company told The Independent they were put in on 1 December last year "as part of a number of measures to reduce litter and smoking outside the store's team entrance, following customer complaints".

The chief executive of national homeless charity Crisis Jon Sparkes said the homeless "deserve better".

"It is a scandal that anyone should sleep on the streets in 21st century Britain. Yet in recent years rough sleeping has risen sharply across the country. Behind these numbers are real people struggling with a lack of housing, cuts to benefits and cuts to homelessness services to help them rebuild their lives."

He told The Independent: "We will never tackle rough sleeping with aggressive measures like studs in the pavement. Instead we need politicians to review the help that single homeless people get under the law, and we urge the public to sign our No One Turned Away petition calling for a change so that no-one is forced to sleep rough.”

The metal spikes, which make it difficult – if not impossible – for homeless to sleep outside buildings caused a huge online backlash last year after a London branch of Tesco and a block of luxury flats in the capital had them installed.

A petition gathered over 13,000 signatures eventually saw both pairs removed.

The Manchester spikes were noticed by Cathy Urquhart, from Yorkshire, who has started a similar petition, which has just over 3,000 signatures so far.

On the petition, which calls on the store to remove the metal stumps, 53-year-old Ms Urquhart writes: “These spikes are an affront to humanity. They tell the homeless that they are not welcome, that they are a problem to be moved on.

“We should be looking after the homeless, not demonising and scapegoating them. Manchester is better than this!”

A recent report published by national homeless charity Crisis claimed that the number of homeless rose by nine per cent last year to 280,000 cases.

You can sign the petition here