Plans have been drawn up to create a charity fund in Doncaster to stop people giving cash to beggars – only for it to be spent on drugs.
Meetings have been taking place which would see a fund set up, run by local organisations, with money that is donated going specifically to groups working with the homeless in the borough.
Posters to promote the scheme are currently being drawn up, but details of how the scheme will work have yet to be finalised.
It comes as police and other agencies are concerned that money given to beggars on the streets in the town centre is being spent on drugs rather than food and lodgings
Doncaster Council is involved in the scheme, but who will run the scheme has not yet been finalised.
Councillor Chris McGuinness, Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for communities and environment said: “An alternative giving campaign is in development that will be designed to encourage people not to give money on the streets but instead to give it to a local fund that helps homeless and vulnerable people off the streets and into a healthier and safer lifestyle.
“The idea behind the scheme is that by changing the way people give, they can change lives and make a longer term difference for people in Doncaster who are experiencing homelessness.”
Authorities have been advising residents against giving to town centre beggars for several months.
Insp Lynne Lancaster, who runs the town centre policing team, confirmed police were trying to discourage people from giving money direct to rough sleepers and beggars on the streets.
She said there was a concern that it discouraged people from engaging with agencies who will help them turn around their lives and deal with social problems that they may have.
She said: “There have been people who have been offered help, but turn it down.
“We have seen members of the public giving as much as £30 a time to beggars on the street. It is admirable that people are so generous, but we believe that sometimes people are not using the money for what the donor intended.
“If a scheme is set up it could channel money into local charities, so we can be sure money is being used where its needed.
“We have seen people begging in the town centre, and then half an hour later seen them under the influence of drugs, and we have caught some of our homeless in possession of drugs.”
Police and other agencies have been targeting antisocial behaviour in the town centre for some time, with a Public Space Protection Order already in place to ban certain types of nuisance behaviour, including begging and sleeping rough in the area. Action was taken after businesses raised concerns over the issue.
Concerns have been raised over the use of the drug known as spice.