My wife came home last night concerned, after yet another beggar had approached her asking for some change to “get a bus home” as she was putting her shopping in the car at Aldi on Magdalen Street in Colchester. This is a regular occurrence and the same bunch of people seem to be preying on women or the elderly who are on their own or with kids.
My wife is savvy and she knows what this is all about. She knows that money isn’t being spent on a bus fair but instead on booze or heroin, and firmly said no.
What annoyed us the most is that this man – dressed all in black with his head covered by his hood – approached her when she was with my 8 year old daughter and it made my daughter very concerned. He then moved onto the next person – a lady who looked in her mid 60s – and approached her with the same story. She was obviously scared and so said he could return her trolley and keep the £1.
It’s nothing new in the area of town, of course. When I lived in New Town I was regularly approached by the same women who would claim that her car had broken down and that she needed some money to buy petrol to get to her sick daughter. When I offered to drive her home, her attitude quickly turned from a desperate pleading person, to an abusive nightmare.
Please don’t give these people money
Many of us, including me, want to help people who are struggling. But paying these beggars to go away isn’t helping you or them. If you give them money you are only encouraging them to return time and time again and you’re helping to feed their addiction.
Instead, give the money to a charity like Shelter. There is help available for people who are homeless but it does rely on the charities being there and also on them asking for help.
The likelyhood is that if you give people money who approach you in the street in this manner, that they will spend it on heroin. It’s a stark reality. Don’t fund their habit.