Lancashire

Preston homeless man leaves 'sorry' note outside shop

Note from homeless man Image copyright Blog Preston
Image caption The note, signed by a man named Chris, apologised for sleeping outside the shop

A homeless man has left a note on the shutters of a shop apologising and thanking staff for allowing him to sleep there.

The note was found in Preston, Lancashire, where a crackdown on antisocial begging has been launched.

Beginning with "Sorry", the note was left outside Scotts designer clothes store and signed by a man named Chris.

Handwritten on a ripped piece of cardboard, he says he had been "moved on from everywhere" else he had slept.

"Thank you for not throwing my things away," he said. "Most people would. I've moved the rubbish.

"Thank you so much. I'm actually homeless. From Chris."

Chris, who did not want to give his full name, told the BBC he left the note because he wanted to return at some stage.

He said he was grateful the shop did not dispose of his possessions after they closed the shutters on Wednesday night.

Image copyright Blog Preston
Image caption The note was left outside Scotts designer clothes store in Preston

"I left a note for them saying sorry, and nice one for not throwing my stuff away.

"Someone robbed all my stuff yesterday, I don't know why. That's why I put the note there because they usually would just throw it away.

"They're nice. That's a good thing. A lot of stuff of mine has gone missing and I've lost my sleeping bags, I've lost blankets, I've lost all sorts of stuff."

"I need my blankets. Even on that hot day, during the heatwave, it was freezing at night."

Earlier this month a campaign was launched which aims to reduce "professional" begging in the city.

Backed by organisations including Preston City Council and Lancashire Police, it focuses on beggars who are persistent and in some cases not in genuine need.

'Victorian problems'

But there are concerns that genuinely homeless people are not always finding the support they need.

Gary Welsh, of the Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service charity, said: "The authorities should know who is genuinely homeless. But on the flipside, there are lots of services for homeless people to access. It's just sad that we are in beginning of the 21st Century and we still have Victorian problems."

A spokesman for Preston City Council said the campaign was not designed to target rough sleepers.

"The Off The Streets Preston initiative is not in any way targeting people like Chris, who is a genuine rough sleeper," he said.

"We are continuing to offer support for rough sleepers and vulnerable people, and working with them to help them address their needs."

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