Sheffield railway station beggars banned in new crackdown

Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson

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Persistent beggars are being banned from Sheffield railway station in a new crackdown.

A new initiative by British Transport Police and East Midlands Trains is seeing banning notices issued to people who regularly beg and loiter around the station.

Since the scheme was launched three weeks ago, two people have been issued with the notices.

Anyone who breaches a notice is liable to be arrested.

PC Matthew Peters said: “There has been an ongoing problem with begging and vagrancy at Sheffield station and this initiative means that notices will be handed out banning them from hanging around the station pestering people for money.

“We know that rail users and staff are concerned about nuisance beggars and vagrants. While it may not seem a huge problem, it makes people feel uncomfortable and occasionally threatened.

“Unfortunately all it takes is a few persistent individuals to create an unwelcoming environment, causing a nuisance and intimidating rail users and staff to ultimately raise the fear of crime at a station that is then incorrectly perceived as unsafe.

“We will not be seeking to unnecessarily criminalise people, but it must be remembered that begging is an offence and we take the concerns of rail users extremely seriously.”

The crackdown follows persistent beggar Lee Anderson, 31, being jailed earlier this year for sexually assaulting two schoolgirls outside Sheffield railway station.

Anderson, of Avenue Road, Askern, Doncaster, was sentenced to a year in jail in May over the incident which happened last August.

Sheffield Crown Court heard he had been drunk and approached the two 13-year-olds as they sat on a bench outside the entrance to Sheffield station and began asking them questions of a sexual nature.

The girls were frightened by his remarks and attempted to move away but Anderson reached out, embracing the girls and then trying to kiss them.

As they struggled, he indecently assaulted the pair before one of them managed to break away.

A shop assistant working nearby witnessed the struggle and rushed over, telling him to leave the girls alone.

Anderson then backed away but later returned and attempted to grab the girls a second time.

Around two hours later officers spotted Anderson from the description the girls had given and he was arrested.