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Beggars belief? You need a €23 permit to ask for cash in this Swedish city

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By Rachael Kennedy
Beggars belief? You need a €23 permit to ask for cash in this Swedish city

A city has become the first in Sweden to require beggars to obtain an official licence before asking for money on the streets. 

Anyone discovered begging for money in Eskilstuna, west of Stockholm, without a relevant permit will face a fine of up to 4,000 SEK (€373).

The licence can be applied for either online or in-person at a police station and will cost the individual 250 SEK (€23) for up to three months.

Speaking to Swedish media, local councillor Jimmy Jansson said the government was "bureaucratising" begging in order to "make it difficult" for people to collect money on the streets in this way.

He added: "We'll see where this goes. I hope the police will apply [the rule] so that a new permit is needed for each day."

But, according to local news outlet Eskilstuna-Kuriren, beggars have so far come up with a workaround to paying for a permit — by selling berries instead.

Jansson responded: "This is nothing unexpected at all, we had expected this to happen."

"It is obviously a reasonable response to a change in conditions. But if you sit and sell outside a store, the shop owner will soon become frustrated."

Plans for the begging permit were initially drawn up in May 2018, but the idea was rejected by an administrative board.

But after an appeal in court, the decision to ditch the permit was eventually overturned.

The introduction of the paid permit comes just months after a ban against begging was brought into effect in a number of locations across Sweden.