Windsor councillor calls for removal of beggars ahead of royal wedding

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
Windsor councillor calls for removal of beggars ahead of royal wedding
Copyright  REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Head Councillor of the city of Windsor Simon Dudley has called for beggars to be removed from the town's streets ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle.

Dudley wrote in a letter to local Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfield that the “quantities of detritus” left by those begging were becoming a “security risk” and painted a poor light of the English town.

Back in December, Dudley tweeted that “there was an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in Windsor” and that he would be writing to Stansfield so that the police could deal with the situation before the royal wedding.

Dudley said the council’s main concern was that some people were allegedly “marching people to cash points to withdraw cash” and “asking tourists for money”.

Thames Valley police replied that they had not received any reports of “anyone being marched to cashpoints to take out money”.

In his letter to Stansfield, Dudley said that the council had made major investments to offer support services and emergency accommodations for those sleeping in the streets.

“Obviously, the level of tourist interest is set to multiply with the Royal Wedding in May 2018, and there are increased concerns from our residents about their safety.”

“The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light.”

In a statement, Stansfield said he was surprised the letter was publicly released but that he would write Dudley a full response after he investigated the issue.

Murphy James, from the Windsor Homeless Project, said in a response to Dudley's letter that the council's help to people sleeping in the streets is "not near what is needed". 

Harry Windsor, third in line to the British throne, is set to marry his American fiancee Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle in May.

Thousands of tourists are expected to visit the town for the celebrations.