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Litter, urine, human waste and needles found as second church has problem vagrants
6:50pm Monday 28th October 2013 in News
ANOTHER church is taking action against rough sleepers causing nuisance in it’s churchyard.
St Alban the Martyr Church, in St John’s Road, Westcliff, is appealing for funds to install gates so people can’t sleep and drink in its porches.
Now the same concerns have been aired by Andy Downey, hall manager at St Helen’s Catholic Church on nearby Milton Road.
He claims the church also has regular problems caused by rough sleepers.
He said: “I’ve got sympathy for St Alban’s and I think they’re issues are worse than ours, but we have had people who won’t leave the church yard a few times recently.
“We’ve also seen their litter, urine and they have defecated in the church yard. We’ve also found needles.”
He said that the church is in touch with different authorities about getting the people help, and moving them on where necessary.
Inspector Bill Potter leads a regular operation to deal with antisocial behaviour associated with begging and homelessness in Southend and Westcliff.
His team already patrol St John’s Church in Southend town centre, but he said this could be expanded if other churches raise problems.
He added: “We tend to focus our efforts on Southend town centre and the Hamlet Court Road areas, but we will certainly look at adding the churches to our regular patrols if they get in touch.
“We take a multi-agency approach with mental health and homelessness services to try to provide support for rough sleepers and get them help.
“If that doesn’t work and they don’t want to work with us, ultimately it may lead to an antisocial behaviour order, that will restrict them from going to an area.”
Resident Steve Lee sent the Echo photos he took from his bedroom window of St Alban’s churchyard, in support of the gate plans.
He said: “I live next to the church in question and this is a typical sight on any day of the week.
“They are noisy, always have alcohol, and constantly swear and shout at each other and passers by.”
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