Nottingham beggar banned from selling Big Issue

Some sellers ask for more money than the magazine is worth

A beggar has been given an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) which bans him from selling the Big Issue magazine anywhere in England and Wales.

Darren Walker is among several beggars in Nottingham who have posed as official sellers, asking for money but then not handing over the magazine.

They often claim that they need to keep the magazine because it is their last copy.

The Big Issue said the scam damaged the reputations of genuine vendors.

'It's killing us'

Matt Howse, a genuine Big Issue seller, said: "People are getting scammed basically and it's having a knock-on effect on the real vendors.

"It's just messing it up completely, really badly.

'I know it's cheeky'

Jeremy Ball, the BBC's social affairs correspondent for the East Midlands, spotted a man in Nottingham offering the Big Issue.

He was not wearing a badge or jacket and said Mr Ball could pay more than the £2.50 cover price if he was "feeling generous".

He then asked: "Do you want the magazine though, because it's my last one? Do you mind if I hang on to it? I know it's cheeky.

"I know I'm supposed to give you one, yeah, but it's the only one I've got."

He claimed he had lost his badge. He said he was not wearing a jacket as it had been hot and you have to pay a £15 deposit.

"Sales have just dropped, immensely, and it's just killing us."

Mr Walker has also been caught trying to pass-off cinema magazines and travel brochures as copies of the Big Issue.

His Asbo bars him from selling or trying to sell the Big Issue or any printed publication without authorisation from the providers, across all of England and Wales.

It lasts until 25 June 2015.

Flo Cameron, a community protection officer in Nottingham, said some rogue Big Issue vendors had been drunk and abusive to people, or under the influence of drugs.

Holly O'Connor, regional manager for the Big Issue, said: "It's giving us quite a bad name with certain members of the public in the city centre and it's just making things a lot harder for our genuine vendors.

"They should be wearing an in-date badge, they should be polite, they shouldn't be asking for spare change for a coffee or whatever.

"All they should be doing is selling the product, and handing over the magazine, and offering change to people."

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