Police in north London have seized blankets, sleeping bags and food donations from rough sleepers in a crackdown on homelessness.
A local paper reported that the belongings, mostly donated by sympathetic members of the community, were snatched by police from a group of homeless people as they sheltered in an abandoned pubic baths for the night.
The nine people, including a man in his sixties, were seeking cover from a cold night in Redbridge and were left stunned when their worldly possessions disappeared into the back of a police car.
One of the men targeted in the action, Adam Jaskowiak, pleaded with officers to be allowed to keep his possessions for warmth. The 34-year-old said: “They [the police officers] were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it, and the food, but they said ‘No’.
“I just grabbed as many of my things as possible and put them into a bag and ran.”
Police later confirmed that the shocking intervention was part of a co-ordinated effort to “reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers”.
Chief Inspector John Fish told the Ilford Recorder: “The public rely on the police to reduce the negative impact; this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of tents and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”