Increase in cases of aggressive begging

Aggressive begging will be targeted by police in Leven town centre
Aggressive begging will be targeted by police in Leven town centre

PEOPLE who menace others by asking them for money on local streets could find themselves getting little change from the law.

Community police in Leven are set to keep a closer watch out for such incidents, after residents reported a growing number of cases.

Last week’s community engagement meeting in the town heard of several recent cases, in which people walking near the town centre, or Post Office and health centre area in Victoria Road, were stopped in the street by people who asked for money.

In most instances, the request was polite and the refusal was accepted. But in others, the mood became slightly more threatening and could be classed as aggressive begging.

One man told the meeting he had been approached by three people, one of whom did the asking.

“He was initially polite and I said ’whatever favour you’re about to ask, the answer is no’. Then he got aggressive and issued a threat.”

The man said he wasn’t bothered but it occured to him later that, if such incidents were happening, “an elderly person might have got their wallet out”.

Residents said other vulnerable people may be at risk of getting their purse or wallet snatched if they felt obliged to hand over money – while it seemed a lot of the people making the approaches knew which parts of the town were less well protected by CCTV cameras.

Community PCs Lorraine King and Peter Holmes asked for any such incidents to be reported and, if possible for a description of what the person was wearing, so that information could be relayed to the officers on regular high-visibility patrol in the town centre.

They agreed to make their colleagues aware of the concerns as a priority activity.

A number of Mail readers have also told of similar experiences around Levenmouth on our Facebook page.