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Doorstep begging

Helen Clifton examines in-your-face beggars who are door-stepping in Whalley Range and Old Trafford

Published on January 23rd 2009.


Doorstep begging

Times are hard. We are being forced to focus our finances on our nearest and dearest. For many, the unknown needy are unfortunately becoming an unnecessary expense.

Yet despite – or perhaps because of – economic circumstances, door-to-door begging appears to be on the increase across parts of south Manchester. Richard Higgins lives in the Manley Road area of Whalley Range, where the problem seems to be most acute. He says the beggars appear to be Eastern European, and speak little English.

“Whilst they're clearly in dire straits, and I have some sympathy, I cannot tolerate this. For the last 33 years of my life I've not had to put up with it. Basically I don’t want these people harassing my girlfriend, neighbours or myself.”

Local councillor John Grant, who also lives on Manley Road, says it has happened to him around half a dozen times in the last few months. His experience is very similar to Richard’s.

“It is a relatively new phenomenon,” he says. “I have never given them money and I have never engaged with them. It is not quite clear where they come from. They have some of the looks of Eastern European women. They are usually by themselves or with a child.

“Usually the advice that is given out is that people shouldn’t be begging. It is entirely up to you but there is actually no reason why people should be coming to collect themselves. It is a bit different from charity. Why are they doing it? Is it part of some organisation?”

Police say they have not received reports of door-to-door begging in Whalley Range or Chorlton. But Romanian street beggars have become such a problem in Rusholme, police are considering giving them Asbos.

“There have been issues in Rusholme with members of the Romanian community street begging, often in a persistent and aggressive manner,” says Fallowfield, Rusholme and Whalley Range Inspector David Gilbride.

"Operation Artist is a multi-agency approach to tackling the problem. Police are working alongside the Anti-Social Behaviour Team at Manchester City Council to issue and enforce Asbos. Social services are also involved in offering help and support to those who are vulnerable and in genuine need.”

On 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria became EU member states. Their citizens are entitled to travel freely to the UK, but once here they are caught in a catch-22 situation.

Due to government concerns about the interests of British workers, only the self-employed or highly skilled are allowed to work. Bulgarians and Romanians cannot claim benefits, and there are strict quotas in place for those with basic skills. Any employer found breaking these restrictions faces heavy penalties.

“They come over thinking it is the land of opportunity and that is not happening. They don't have anywhere to turn and they have no options,” says Keith Smith, regional sales manager for the Big Issue in the North.

He said he had heard anecdotal reports of begging, and has had complaints from members of the public who think door-to-door beggars are Big Issue vendors. “It is a very rare occurrence, and if it is happening, it is not something we are aware of in Manchester. I don’t agree with begging in any form,” he adds.

“The people that do sell the magazine are not able to access certain services. Services are restricted to the type of support they offer, and that excludes people from those EU accession states. But we need to be able to plan for these people.

“People are coming to ourselves and we can’t send them out because they can’t adhere to our rules (they have no language skills).

“It is quite easy to say it is their responsibility. But they come from very deprived backgrounds. There has got to be a support mechanism in place. Quite a lot of people that do travel here are Roma and are excluded from mainstream society. We are dealing with hundreds of years of history here.

“They are just trying to survive. If they are in the country we need to be thinking of ways to help them survive.”

Janet Smith, Manchester co-ordinator for the Northern Network of Travelling People, confirmed that before 2007 many Roma came to Manchester from Romania seeking asylum and ended up staying.

“They are coming over but they have to be able to support themselves – and unfortunately a lot of them do go begging,” she says.

The Saturday before Christmas, a lady turned up at my Old Trafford home, together with a small boy aged around seven, asking for money. Another lady and a small girl were begging at the other end of the street. She said she was from Bosnia, that she was begging because she couldn’t get benefits, and wished me a Merry Christmas. She wouldn’t, or couldn’t, answer my questions.

It is understandable that people would want to beg in Britain rather than Romania, Bosnia or Bulgaria, especially if they are a member of a minority such as the Roma.

If nothing else the issue shows how global concerns are literally being brought to our doorsteps – forcing us to reflect on what kind of society we want to live in.

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87 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

booJanuary 23rd 2009.

Young children should not be begging they should be in school. It's free and it's a childs right. Babies and toddlers should not be out in the cold elicting sympathy. These children are being abused and deprived.

Frederica NonameJanuary 23rd 2009.

Oh dear Mancunian Minx. Their country is poorer than ours that's why they come you daft thing. It's high pressure air currents blow into low pressure systems.Savvy?

city-centre-residentJanuary 23rd 2009.

These bleeding-heart urban hipsters from the Northern Quarter and students think they are helping. They're not, the money goes straight into the pocket of the nearest drug dealer and from there to support the drugs trade. Or it goes into the till at Tesco for some cider. Every time you give beggars money, you help destroy quality of life in Manchester city centre a bit more. Some news.bbc.co.uk/…/3169359.stmBeggar… with £22,000 a year drug habit banned from Manchester city centre.

SonofsmurfJanuary 23rd 2009.

No mention of the pickpocketing gangs scouring Manchester? I have caught them twice trying to dip people in the city centre. One gang was even trying to rob the purse of an elderly lady pushing a wheelchair! Lets not give them too much sympathy when its clear that our country is bein targeted by eastern european criminals. Begging, dipping, stealing are a way of life. They are demonised and persecuted because they choose to live this way. I wonder if the liberal commentators on this site would have the same opinions after witnessing our disabled and elderly being robbed by them? They are here because our wallets and homes are a fuller and more attractive source of income.

EditorialJanuary 23rd 2009.

Let's keep the debate focussed intelligently on the issue here, shall we? That was too plain nasty there Cigpapers, so it's gone. There's no need for insults just debate and wit.

Easy LifeJanuary 23rd 2009.

I wish i could get them knocking on my door, I've got a pile of washing they could turn there hand to after knocking me up a bit of tasty grub !hey and half of these Eastern Europeans are not half bad looking !

DavidJanuary 23rd 2009.

James i disagree whole heartedly with your comments, anyone who lives in Manchester shouldn’t feel harassed when in town, let alone whilst at home! and why should we give sympathy to everyone? you earn sympathy im afraid, you cant have been continually bombarded by these woman? I think the rants on here are very honest

scoteeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

Paulipips I have never heard so much tripe in all my days...You are still flying the overcrowded jobs comment.our government made it clear for these poverty stricken people to enter,so long as their children are being dragged around the srteets each and everyone of us who lay in bed with our well fed families should think on... i would estimate that no-one in a position to write on here is having the same concerns as the parents of these children this evening so lets get down from our pedestals and respond sensitively and less selfishly.

scoteeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

If I was an eastern European spending my days begging on the streets, the very last thing I would be bothered about was an A.S.B.O. This is a typical ‘brush it under the carpet’ response by a governing body who has no answer other than to try and keep the peace amongst the local community who think the thought of an ASBO would be awful if it were them. Rubbish, my argument is this-If we let people in to the country and abide by the rights of European legislation then we should also be prepared to deal with refugees and asylum seekers humanely and support them accordingly (legalised human rights should dictate this). The very fact that people want to be here and escape from their war torn existence is solely based on our selling the idea of what we can do for others as a nation back in the 90’s. To turn ones back or at best a blind eye to those people who acknowledged UK support, categorises our social structure and questions the very fabric of what we stand for as a member of the European community. I don’t really agree with joining the European community but we are in it and we move on. The Austrian cellar rapist Josef Fritzl fathering four incestuous children one of which was locked up for 24 years without daylight, was a prime example of what could have been prevented earlier had society asked itself and probed a little more about it’s own history and social structure. People might be more willing to question, understand and therefore help fellow man… not one sentence in that story mentioned what action was in place for these people, just protection for UK citizens and the inconvenience it causes us. These people have been walking the city centre for the past 3 years and the numbers are growing, Only when they knock on a residents door do we complain. I am ashamed to say this but some times the backward thinking in this country makes me feel very ill…

city-centre-resident saysJanuary 23rd 2009.

"I dont see the beggers born in Manchester, traveling to richer countrys, say the US to beg on the streets"Because it wouldn't be tolerated in the USA. Whereas Manchester is full of thick students and whining east Mancunians know exactly which buttons to press. I once saw the guy who lives above me sitting next to a cash machine with a 'hungry and homeless' sign. Another local woman used to walk round town with her baby saying she was homeless too. As mentioned above, in the end Social Services said they would take her child away if she didn't stop. She was on benefits and a smackhead with a council house.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

chick, it's not a good place for them, thats the whole point, it's STILL better than where they are coming from. And while Romania may not be 'war ravaged'the Roma people have still experienced poverty and a way of living that you could never understand. And are you therefore saying that a somalian beggar on your 'premises' would be welcomed with open arms? I doubt it very much.

jaybeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

To all those bleeding hearts out there, ask yourselves why people travel half way around the world to get here. Is it because our streets are safer to beg in, or is it because we are the dustbin of the world? Yesterday, Sat 24th, it was reported that NuLabour refuses to return 80 known convicted murderers and rapists to Albania despite being wanted by Interpol. The clowns ruining this country say it might infringe their 'human rights' if we sent them back to face justice. Never mind the human rights of their victims, as Richard Littlejohn in known to say " you couldn't make it up".Then we have such comments as 'let them work', oblivious to the fact we are laying off our own workers AND allowing in yet another 150,000 non-EU workers to push another 150,000 Brits on the dole! Then there is the Big Issue joke. I know of one seller who still lives with his mum, goes out every day, collects his dosh and blows it on drink and drugs. Never worked and never will. I never waste a penny on any of them. Heartless? No, a realist. If Keith Smith wants his name he should contact me. The old gang political parties have been found out. The country is fast becoming a dumping ground for crooks, professional mobsters and people like the 7'2" tall Pakistani asylum seeker who jumped the city housing queue to get a nice comfortable house because she 'is tall'. Britain once was Great, now we are a great laughing stock.

DrakeJanuary 23rd 2009.

But this is part of a bigger picture. Burglaries and street robberies have shot up over the past few months according to anecdotal evidence. Particularly the latter. No-one's buying coke anymore, and you can't get anything for stolen steel or aluminium, so the lowlifes are starting to steal watches and computers. There's a story for ManCon--is GMPA aware and planning anything, or are they, typically, reacting to LAST year's problems?

A RealistJanuary 23rd 2009.

If nobody gives them money then they will learn it's not worth coming to the UK. The UK government then asks for funds from Europe to give them a free coach ride back to Rumania, and then they will not bother coming back and will tell their countrymen not to bother as it's not worth it. Dublin is packed full of Rumanians with babies begging as well.

Asan IvayaloJanuary 23rd 2009.

I would like to point out that we do take paypal and also have our own dedicated begging shop on ebay.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

dear captain jack tw@tno body CHOOSES to flee a war ravaged country to live somewhere where you have no friends, family, language,job, money and are forced to live on the streets and beg for survival. You poor poor people having the terrible nusance of somebody knocking on your door every now and then. Try living in their shoes for a day.

DavidJanuary 23rd 2009.

Karen i dont actually think thats what Jill was getting at. Plus these people seam to have been shipped in all together and dotted around the country, ive every sympathy for someone who is homeless and of this country but i dont actually believe these begging women at face value

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

Oh and by the way "send them back" is just an expression, no one is using it in the litereal sence, its a way of expressing how we feel about the lovely little country we have here, we should take a little pride in it sometime

EditorialJanuary 23rd 2009.

This debate is getting off the point and losing all semblance of being intelligent. It's clear that people with a very odd and distorted view of history are taking over and using this as a personal platform to get things off their chests - mostly over issues little to do with the article. The editor would like to point out that it's he who commissions articles off people and they normally go above the rant section. The last comment from WOW has to go as well, not least as it's written in capital letters which seems a bit like shouting and it gets vicious. We also apologise for the personal comment above re 'half-wit', the person responsible has been told off. We wish to remain an open debating site, where people with wit and understanding can comment, not a vehicle for people to indiscriminately lay about them.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

I live in Whalley Range where we have experienced door-step begging on several occasions. One particular time two children - younger than my own nine year old- knocked on the door asking for money and food. We gave them some. You can argue that they shouldn't be begging and it's part of a bigger problem that should be solved by governments etc but when you are faced with hungry children what are you supposed to do? I think many people faced with the same scenario would have done the same.

Adam GreenJanuary 23rd 2009.

Yes it's an interesting article. And it's good to see your all noting the big issues not just the B.L.O.O.D.Y Asbo thing.

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

I dont need to go back to school thank you, i am merely pointing out that not everyone has to use the queens English when writing blogs, and if someone wants to use a phrase or two then whats the problem? im sure your conversations throughout your day are filled with old sayings like "better the devil you know" "when in Rome . ." "Raining cats and dogs" and if you have never used such sayings and speak perfect and clear English then im sorry and take it back. Talking about Ireland, if everyone one did what they did over the last few hundred years then there would be constant unrest in every area of every country in the world, because strage as it may seam, rulers, countries and borders have changed a hell of a lot in the last 1000 years, that doesnt mean to say that we all pick an idyllic period in history that we would like to hark back to and then fight for it, i could do that myself as i was born in the West Midlands, whereas 30 years ago my town once came under Worcestershire, i would much prefer to live in Worcestershire than West Midlands but i dont have a right to fight for that silly cause as i was never part of the separation myself.

cool4door60January 23rd 2009.

This problem has been apparent in Rusholme for years, athough maybe slightly different whereby a women and child or children would be dropped off by their husbands/boyrfriends who are driving a nice shiny merc or bmw for so that they could walk around all day and beg people for money. Sounds unbelieveable until you have seen it for yourself. I am not saying every begger is a con artist and has a aston martin parked round the corner, but you never know whether people are taking the Michael or not when it comes to asking for help in this way. The government did quite literally advertise the Uk as a open system for many migrants to enter not that there is anything wrong with that but they obviously did think about what impact it would have on our economy, our health services, our benefits systems etc. Its created a system whereby it doesnt help those that have paid for it through NI contributions neither does it encourage those that come into the country to work. Obviously not every immigtant worker is here to grab and take but it does happen and no one does anything about it. When I needed to claim JSA I was told I didnt qualify because I hadnt paid enough NI contribution which is odd since I have been working since I was 16. Only 14 years of NI, but I couldnt claim it for 3 months while I was out of work and actively seeking it applying for 10 or more jobs a day!A friends wife of mine used to work for a company that is moving to the Ukraine, she trained all the Ukranian to do her job then was made redundant while they ship the firm off to the Ukraine and employ the people she has trained. Its not the Ukrainians faults it our government who are not helping both the people who provide the backbone cash for this country and those that come to call this place home. I think we should get a different Prime Minister perhaps we could follow the US change is needed and one that will work!

Whalley Range ResidentJanuary 23rd 2009.

They have been to my house many times and are quiet persistant to the point of making me feel a bit unsafe in my own home. Its awful that they are in that position and I accept that as a nation we have caused and encouraged it but its my home and not something I want to deal with.Please don't give them anything at the door - give your money to registered charities such as shelter so they can be assisted without having to harrass people.

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

I wonder if all these do-gooders (who believe everyone is honest and well deserving) actually give to every person that comes upto them asking for money?? i think not, theres no excuse for being a pest in our country, sod what happened in the past with the Empire, it was a different world then, our little country is the first stop for anyone who wants something free.My uncle moved to Canada 40 years ago, set up his own company and has never been back here until last year, quite frankly he didnt recognise the place because it was so full of scrounging foreigners on our streets, most of the comments on here or realistic, i dont know why we need kitt gloves on? its like a taboo to talk about it! for all we all know these women probably are not homeless anyway! they must have come from somewhere!!

WOWJanuary 23rd 2009.

REMOVED BY EDITORIAL

EditorialJanuary 23rd 2009.

Michael, we were fixing something and we've lost your post. Please put it up again.Sorry.

Jill BJanuary 23rd 2009.

Is Mancon changing? There seem to more of these 'serious' articles coming on the site. Good. An alternative to the MEN and then...no one else. Forget whether Birmingham has better food as argued on other parts of this site. If we could have the sort of media that challenged received wisdom, was brave and stimulating that would be a better measure of being a mature city.

cigpapersJanuary 23rd 2009.

The enrichment continues as zanulabour plunge us back to both Dickensian poverty and medieval religous warfare. GO NOW Moron Clown! P.S.Also forgot 1970s National bankruptcy!

Disillusioned DanJanuary 23rd 2009.

OK, I agree that while it was reflective of my frustration, my 'Gordon Ramsay' post was naughty. Its removal serves as punishment, but who the hell are you to call me a half-wit? I thought this site was supposed to be impartial? I didn't realise that it'd become a personal blog...

EditorialJanuary 23rd 2009.

The last post was objectionable and written by a half-wit so it's gone.

James ToolanJanuary 23rd 2009.

City centre resident, I think it's time to move out of the city centre.I prefer the tone of the rants on here that are measured and sympathetic. The angry rants are frightening. Wow you folks have issues. The Roma lifestyle is not for me and not for most people: but it is theirs. Let's put it in the box entitled life's rich tapestry shall we?

purplebiroJanuary 23rd 2009.

Some of these comments are dispicable, as is the general tone of the article, which seems entirely focused on the worries of the people who are confronted by beggars and not the beggars. Am I really supposed to think that afluent homeowners and not desperate women, forced to take their children out on the streets to beg are the victims in this situation?

secret squirrelJanuary 23rd 2009.

I agree with Sonofsmurf!I am sorry but its doubtful if we should have so much understanding if the shoe was on the other foot and we went to their country. I recently went to Italy on holiday and felt persecuted by these people! If they werent playing accordians on the train practically in your face they were leaving leaflets on seats - if you picked one up they were on you straight away with their cups begging. I was sitting at a cafe bar and stupidly had my wallet on the table and the restaurantaur came running out one of t hem was about to swipe it off the table. They are so blatant that she stayed there and kept putting her hand out then saying money? Money? I believe this is the way these people choose to live and how come we never see any of the fathers of these babies? its because it looks more pitiful seeing the mum with the baby! They scare me and they shouldnt be allowed to do this!

EditorialJanuary 23rd 2009.

Cigpapers, have an intelligent opinion by all means or make us laugh, but insults and plain aggression are a dead end.

jaybeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

The Minx is right. Send them all back. We have enough home grown scum without bringing people like these into the country.

viva chris ronald...January 23rd 2009.

Does anyone know if its an offence to run down the eastern euro's who try to clean your windscreen when you stop a the lights??? Surely if some idiots brave enough to play chicken, wondering whether i will bother braking just as amber kicks in deserves to be dragged half way down the park way and delivered into Moss side!

loo looJanuary 23rd 2009.

i'd sooner give my £5 to a may or may not be worthy cause than contribute it towards socail services wage packets. Whom in conducting their job will cost the tax payer a fortune in red tape trying to establish if this person really does need a fiver.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

For goodness sake, listen to the people in this article. What happended to helping people out who are worse off than you? Would it really hurt you to offer them a small amount of food? Many years ago I had a Portugese girlfriend and when visiting her family I was suprised to learn that they had a 'regular' begger who would visit them every Friday evening and be given some food to take away. Apparently this was quite common and many neighbourhoods would have their own begger who would call once a week and be supported. People shopuld stop thinking only of themsleves and start to try as much as possible to support others as well. And maybe stop reading the Daily Mail too!

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

And Jill I completely agree with you 100%. We have a wildly different structured and settled society which is nothing like there’s. I’m afraid to use the old saying but "when in Rome, do as the Romans do" and thats very true, you shouldn’t be a pest in someone else’s country, and they should be made to understand this fact

ErnaldJanuary 23rd 2009.

These people may well be entitled, as citizens of the enlarged EU, to travel freely within Europe. Nonetheless, you should not go to a foreign country if you don't have the means to support yourself and your children.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

Anyone begging with babies should be reported to the social services/police immediately. They're blatantly not in a safe or positive environment.

Graham SwiftJanuary 23rd 2009.

The tone of the article is completely fair. As the writer says she couldn't get anybody amongst the beggars to talk. I think Purplebiro would rather not have subjects which are controversial up here. It disturbs the gentle balance we can garner by closing our eyes and ignoring problems.

James CahillJanuary 23rd 2009.

What's all this ship them back? Have you any idea how these things work, international treaties and so forth. And who exactly is suffering in the UK, or getting less benefits or fewer hospital beds because of a handful of East European beggars? There is an element of thoughtless stupidity here that beggars (ha) belief. Learn a little history folks, put things in perspective. Immigration has always added to UK diversity and richness - just give it time. God forbid we lived in the parochial narrow way we did even as late as the 1950s.

Heads in SandJanuary 23rd 2009.

REMOVED BY EDITORIAL

paulipipsJanuary 23rd 2009.

I appreciate Romania is a dirt poor country that much of the population would like to leave.However this doesnt mean it should be open season for Romanians to come here.I would like to go and work in America but I understand why the USA would restrict me if I couldnt bring suitable skills - that wouldnt mean the USA is racist towards me - just realist. The UK is too overcrowded already to allow even more people over here unless they are bringing in-demand skills that will add and not take from our overall environment. The Native British Working Class will be the ones who suffer the most as their wages and jobs get impinged upon by any influx. The limp wristed bleeding heart liberal types in their education / social services / media type jobs dont have anything to worry about as their jobs will be safe and they wont be the ones suffering mayhem and violence on the streets of safe tree lined sushi nibbling suburbia.

DavidJanuary 23rd 2009.

I dont see the beggers born in Manchester, traveling to richer countrys, say the US to beg on the streets, so why do they come here! Romania and Bulgaria are quite poor countries but theres a hell of a lot more poor countrys out there, but their residents are not over here begging us

Jill BJanuary 23rd 2009.

Paulipips why so insulting? Maybe because you do work on the 'front line' is why you are unqualified to comment. You are all passion and no detachment and the as we no distance and perspective are the best way to judge a situation. All successful countries have faced immigration and have had to be open: unless they are repressive and then they lose out. Britain has always been boosted by immigration with its the return of the Jews under Oliver Cromwell, the arrival of the Hugenots and so forth. Manchester in particular has benefited from immigration. I wonder if any of the people being cruel here have Irish ancestry? In the 1840s the Irish, poor, often begging, seen as dirty and primitive, where despised by many: read Frederick Engels on the Irish, even he joins in. But now, I think, a third of the population in Manchester have some Irish roots. Are they so ready to hate immigrants? Shouldn't they be more understanding?

WowJanuary 23rd 2009.

the empire is a thing of the past. Last time I checked the north of Ireland was still under British rule despite 500 years of fighting for home rule. The empire has evolved from one of land to one of ecconomics. Why do you think the british are running through streets and homes in the middle east calling people terrorists. Hardly a thing of the past. scrounging foreigners fighting to remain in control of the oil because they foolishly sold off their own sovigern wealth funds. you must think forigners don't pay tax or contribute to society. Every second shop i go into in manchester is being ran by someone with a forigen accent. I'm sure they pay taxes. Taxes that pay for the benifits received by British drug addicts,alcoholics, scroungers as well as those who have a genuine need.

jaybeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

Wonder if Noj's compassion extends to giving one of these so-called beggars a spare room to live in? Nah, didn't think so!Also, to those people who hide behind 'anonymous' titles why do you bother? I'll bet you your Portugese beggar was actually Portugese! With it's better climate ask yourself why these Gypsies are flooding into the UK, when they are just as entitled to go to Spain, Greece or Portugal. Also, may I recommend you stop reading the Star, it is affecting your ability to think straight! Send them back.

Karen HJanuary 23rd 2009.

I have sympathy with these people in that I would rather not have their apparently rootless lives. Then again they may have more community within their groups of fellow beggars than many of us have with our neighbours. Jill B was spot on here in that their way of life seems out of touch with the bureaucratically burdened world we live in.

jimqukJanuary 23rd 2009.

Gypsies (Roma) have a long history of enslavement, discrimination, and persecution - hundreds of thousands were killed by the Nazis. Many have left Eastern Europe hoping for better opportunities for their children, but many from Romania unfortunately are used to begging as a way of life.I don't encourage begging, but they should be allowed to work, and in any case treated with dignity. I don't give them money, although I'll buy the Big Issue, and I'll try to communicate - my regular Big Issue vendor speaks Spanish. Say to them "bakhtalo! (bahhtAlo)", it means good luck in Romani, it means you are not making easy judgments against them. Of course, it will encourage them to ask you for money, but just be firm but friendly. Their lives are really tough, they don't need everyone's contempt as well!A good balanced article, but did the women photoed agree to be put up on the net? By the way, I knew a woman from Afghanistan, she was lost on her way back from looking for an English class, she tried to ask someone the way, the lady she stopped thought she was begging and got her arrested! Luckily, the papers from the college supported her story and the Police kindly took her home, but she felt humiliated. so we have to be careful in our judgments.

mR bUMBLEJanuary 23rd 2009.

Bring Back workhouses and take them off the streets and put them to work making say knitted jumpers for say primark!!!

Jill BJanuary 23rd 2009.

As for the problem of doorstep begging then I think that is a level too far. To come on to your property and disturb your peace in your little sanctuary is going too far. Some people still favour the nomadic lifestyle such as the Roma and that's fine in less sophisticated societies but in complex ones like ours with tax regimes, utilities and so forth it's out of its time. Maybe the Roma should settle somewhere and learn to call it home.

robJanuary 23rd 2009.

Apparently, if you grab one end of these beggars and pull the other end, there's a smaller begger inside. This can be repeated around 6 to 8 times depending on size.

cigpapersJanuary 23rd 2009.

THIS COMMENT WAS REMOVED BY EDITORIAL

ChickJanuary 23rd 2009.

Our Government did not make it clear that the Roma could enter this country, no matter how poverty-striken they may be. There are very clear guidelines relating to immigration from Romania - only skilled workers are allowed entry -officially. The last time I looked, Romania was not 'war-torn'. I for one am a little fed-up with these beggers entering my business premises and intimidating my customers; attempting to wash my car windscreen every time I stop at a set of lights and hassling me when I shop at the International Foodstore in Rusholme - even to the extent of sitting on the car bonnet when I come out of the store. In the car park last week, I almost killed a young Roma girl. She and her family were being chased away by the owners and she simply ran out in front of me. Sorry, I have no sympathy, and neither do the Romanian Government - the President is on record as saying he is glad of the exodus of the Roma from his country as it means they are now another country's 'problem'. Very un-PC of me I know but something needs to be done.

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2009.

this sounds heartless but there are too many of them on the streets as it is and doorstop begging is unacceptable. I doubt in many cases whether the child they are using as a begging tool is even their own - I agree with the earlier comment, social services should take their kids off them until they find a job. With unemployment and homelessness on the rise, charity begins at home I'm afraid - it's time these people moved on because the UK is not in a position to support beggers and scroungers, regardless of how tragic their circumstances.

not fooledJanuary 23rd 2009.

I've seen these begging women in the city centre lots of time. The thing I find odd is that their babies never seem to make a move or cry. I honestly think they are just dolls, used to elicit some sympathy.

NojJanuary 23rd 2009.

I live in Whalley Range, and have occassionally (once or twice a year) been asked for food or money by someone knocking at my door.In Britain we are fortunate to enjoy huge material prosperity, whilst most of the world lives in dire poverty. It is rare that we are personally confronted with this inequality.Should we tolerate people begging at our doors? Well, we should not tolerate the inequality of this world that means people have to beg at our doors. In the meantime, those less fortunate than ourselves deserve our compassion and our help.

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

Here here Secret Squirrel! I mean we all have our crosses to bear! but not at the expense of dignity!

LeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

Im sorry but I think Manchester is just the latest place to be "hit" by these seemingly identical eastern European woman with babies in cloth, I was in London over a year ago and walked around the outside of Harrods, 9 different women all with a baby in tow and the usual similar clothes and no English all asked for money, now these same group of women (dont know where the men are) are over in Manchester and Birmingham, all looking the same. To be honest why should I believe them? they have come from nowhere and to be honest look like they all know each other and are part of a much bigger network, if we wont give them benefits (which is a good thing because we need them for actual residents of the UK) then they should go home and stop pestering hard working folk like the majority of us, and im sick to death of do gooders spouting that we should all feel sorry for them, I wonder how many times these do gooders freely empty their pockets in an effort to furnish the needs of these women, the only thing they dont seam to have a problem doing is having lots of children.There will always be people better and worst off but thats no excuse in this day and age. ,My grandmother whos now 97 grew up in a small mining village in South Wales with 6 younger sisters, their dad died when she was 11 and she went straight into service as a maid in a huge house in Portabello Road London, in 1923 aged just 11, she spent 7 years working 6am till 11pm every night to send home money to support her mother and 6 sisters in Wales, not once did she EVER degrade herself and the pride of our family by begging on the streets, she did anything she could to keep the family together without pestering anyone. During the war she held down 4 different jobs just to afford to keep her 4 young boys, just shows doesn’t itI will always support charities that will see that money is spent for the most needy of the community, but should we be exploited by all and sundry that appear to just wonder into the country with no means of supporting it or themselves, that is taking the Michael!

wowJanuary 23rd 2009.

nothing like listening to the british telling people to go back to where they came from. Ever heard of the British Empire. Now if thats not taking benefits benefits of other countries, I don't know what is. I don't believe the queen has sent the crown jewels back to India yet, or stopped stealing the gas from northern ireland

esquioJanuary 23rd 2009.

Since when were Romania and Bulgaria "war torn"? These Roma people live by their own rules, menace people for money and have no regard for their host country - be that Bulgaria, Czech Republic or the UK. Oh God, I sound like a Mailista!

paulipipsJanuary 23rd 2009.

Scoteee says.."Paulipips I have never heard so much tripe in all my days".....zzzzzz Scoteee Scoteee you handwringing tearstained social science oozing plonkaa - the logical result of your desire for this country to look after all the worlds downtrodden masses would be the collapse of this country thus adding even more of the downtrodden to the worlds population. This planet has always had and always will have areas of hard living and areas of "easy" living due to geographical locations / political systems / cultural ideals etc .....better to look after a few people well than lots of people badly - I do my bit for society working on the NHS frontline and regularly work unpaid extra time to help people of all races out...however i recognise that ALL systems have a breaking point and if we allow ours to reach this then we cant help anyone at all - " Think Globally - Act Locally "

scoteeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

The French had this issue almost seven years ago,I do find it interesting how they eased the pain and suffering somewhat by helping these people before relocating their families and sending them home...what do the brits do? Nothing but moan and whine about what taxes they pay and their jobs at risk and a granny that was paid 6op an hour for keeping a many kids herself ...As I said in my first rant at the top of the page, its sickening as are some of the insensitive comments.Im not a French fan but their issue is resolved humanely, not like some of the suggestions on news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2299999.stm…

Trevor SorbetJanuary 23rd 2009.

I think the ladies in their jolly coloured clothes look rather sweet.

James againJanuary 23rd 2009.

city-centre-resident you really ought to move. Who the hell are these bleeding heart Northern Quarter urban hipsters...do they meet in a particular bar, are they fit? What are their names and addresses.

Captain Jack SpratJanuary 23rd 2009.

These kids that are used by the women look waxen and drugged to me. Social services should get involved. The women should be deported. They chose their way of life.

cigpapersJanuary 23rd 2009.

Hey Editorial - surely even us liberals should have a voice and be allowed an opinion?

to jillJanuary 23rd 2009.

I'm half traveller and spent a lot of my life in a caravan. My people were here before yours. Why should we change to suit you. I pay tax and wash myself with water. Why do you tink I don't belong. I'm not a charity case and my husband treats me like a queen. What sophisticated society are you talking about exactly. Is it yours the one where your women feel the presure to have botox injected into their skin when they reach a certain age, have their breasts and genitalia surgically enhanced for their men and spend a hour unpaid every day putting make up on your faces so your acceptable in your places of employment. Or maybe you ment mine where the family unit is sacred, A womens worth only increases with age and motherhood. Where spouses are expected by gods law, family and community to support their families with money and unwavering loyalty. If your looking for someone whos struggling to find their place in society, take a look in the mirror.

BrelJanuary 23rd 2009.

I am surprised how long the 'begging with child' thing took to come to Manchester. I've seen this all over Europe for well over a decade now. Paris used to be chock-a-block with them and they wouldn't take no for an answer, instead you just get that cup in your face and the fake tears "baby, baby, baby". I've been close to losing my temper, such is their reluctance to move away.There are usually more women than children, and they are always lifeless. It's not comfortable to see.

A RealistJanuary 23rd 2009.

If nobody gives them money then they will learn it's not worth coming to the UK. The UK government then asks for funds from Europe to give them a free coach ride back to Rumania, and then they will not bother coming back and will tell their countrymen not to bother as it's not worth it. Dublin is packed full of Rumanians with babies begging as well.

Mancunian MinxJanuary 23rd 2009.

These beggars should be dealt with accordingly....deport them all. Our country's overstretched with foreigners as it is. If any of us Brits went over to their country hassling locals for money, we would soon be shown the ferry/plane door!

city-centre-residentJanuary 23rd 2009.

There needs to be some serious investigation into this. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Bulgarian and Romanian beggars end up handing over most of the money to someone else. A people trafficking or organised crime type thing. As the article I quoted makes clear, there is a lot of money to be made from begging in Manchester. That is why the guy with the £22,000 a year drug habit was begging. If you didn't make a substantial amount he wouldn't have bothered. He would have been off doing something more profitable, like robberies to generate that huge sum.

PedantJanuary 23rd 2009.

Shouldn't it be ASBO? Or ASBOs? (Surely an acronym?) And why does the end of the 6th paragraph end with an unfinished sentence?

DavidJanuary 23rd 2009.

Hahahaha!

GregJanuary 23rd 2009.

Good that the issue is out in the open, but what a glib bit of journalism, really. "Yet despite – or perhaps because of – economic circumstances, door-to-door begging appears to be on the increase" Wow really?

cool4door60January 23rd 2009.

£22,000 a year drug habit and he managed feed that from begging feck me side ways I earn just 19k a year and I support two kids a wife to be and a mortgage car etc no wonder people are begging!

city-centre-residentJanuary 23rd 2009.

It's hardly surprising that immigrants have hit on this as being a good idea when you can't walk across the city centre without being harrassed numerous times by various Mancunian beggars and Big Issue sellers. They must think that anything goes here. Some of the Big Issue sellers seem to have been doing it for years. It has obviously become a kind of career for them, which was never the intention. It should all be stopped. As usual the needs of a handful are allowed to come before the peace and enjoyment of thousands. Why should it be impossible to walk down the street without this?

DavidJanuary 23rd 2009.

Karen i dont actually think thats what Jill was getting at. Plus these people seam to have been shipped in all together and dotted around the country, ive every sympathy for someone who is homeless and of this country but i dont actually believe these begging women at face value

James CahillJanuary 23rd 2009.

People who use words or phrases such as 'do-gooders', 'pc gone mad', 'bleeding-hearts' or call themselves 'a realist' and then put 'lol' drive me slightly crazy. I reckon talk in cliches think in cliches. In other words to a formula because they don't have any original thoughts of their own. I would send them back. To school.

ChickJanuary 23rd 2009.

Anon; from which 'war-ravaged' country have these people fled? 'No friends, family, language,job, money' and 'forced to live on the streets and beg for survival'. Stay put then - you make the UK sound like a not particularly inviting palace to live.

CarefulJanuary 23rd 2009.

mR bUMBLE....i had to read twiec.....for a second i thought you said whore houses !!!! Now theres an idea ?

beaverJanuary 23rd 2009.

I am so sick of people coming to the uk and taking benefits/ begging etc etc. Ship them all back to where they came from!!! Also I was approached by 2 of these women last week, who both had dirty children with them and supposedly broken wrists BOTH ON THE SAME arm. Both carrying the children on said arms. Come on now, thats just not believeable. Social services need to step in.

redroosterJanuary 23rd 2009.

Anonymous , youre dead right , and , like it or not , there is a lot of bad feeling out there towards these people .

scoteeeJanuary 23rd 2009.

UNITED verus city;Scotland versus England;GB against the rest of the world;East versus West perhaps we need Earth versus Mars then we will truly be UNITED???

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