LETTERS: An attitude that beggars belief

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your reporter Stewart Hennessey wrote a very interesting article on begging on the streets ("Begging your pardon", 20 December). But whether he did genuine beggars and the real homeless any favours by doing so is another matter.

Probably one of the reasons why many people are so inimical to beggars, and why they will not give them any money, is due to a suspicion that they are being conned, that the beggars aren't genuine, that they are in fact people like Mr Hennessey. In the course of his researches, he not only tricked the genuinely charitable, he also told those who were concerned enough to enquire after his plight any load of old rubbish that occurred to him.

The end result of his article was not to leave you with the impression that those who didn't give him money were mean, but more that those who had given him money were duped.

What sympathy that will attract for the homeless, I can't imagine.

Yours sincerely, ALEX SHEARER Bristol 20 December