Letter: Aggressive beggars

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The Independent Online
Letter: Aggressive beggars

Sir: In his zeal to lay the death of a homeless person at the door of the Edinburgh Evening News and The Scotsman, Patrick Small (Media, 17 November) forgets one or two facts.

The Evening News campaign against aggressive begging is in tandem with our support for a wet hostel in Edinburgh to provide just the kind of care for those addicted to drugs and alcohol he mentions.

Aggressive begging is not rare. Lothian and Borders police have identified a hard core of approximately 30 who regularly cause trouble in the city centre. It is true that behaviour has improved since our campaign was launched.

I have lost count of the number of times we have insisted that aggressive begging and homelessness are separate issues.

Andrew Neil has never written a line for this paper. Our interest in aggressive begging predates Mr Neil's joining the company.

I agree with Mr Small that it is shameful for some to feel the need to beg, but I fail to see why it should be deemed acceptable for ordinary people to be harassed as they go about their daily business in this city.



Edinburgh Evening News