CLIVE SMITH: Fake homelessness means those in real trouble suffer

Fareham Borough Council has been debating homelessness
Fareham Borough Council has been debating homelessness
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Homelessness is big news again in Portsmouth.

The NatWest bank in Palmerston Road, Southsea, putting up a sign threatening beggars with prosecution caused quite a stir.

People were saying the sign was ‘disgusting’ and ‘disgraceful.’

I don’t think it was.

I’m sure those who are having a moan about this sign wouldn’t feel quite the same if every time they walked in or out of their house there was someone in their front garden with a pile of mouldy blankets, begging bowl and flea-ridden mutt.

And if they owned their own business I find it unlikely they’d welcome a beggar outside their shop.

The problem is, just because someone looks homeless and says they’re homeless, it doesn’t necessarily mean they spend their nights getting urinated on by drunk revellers.

Often so-called ‘homeless’ people have somewhere to live and will beg on the streets to pay for drink, drugs and a Tesco mobile top-up.

And if you find the right spot you can coin it in as a fake hobo.

And therein lies the problem for those who really are on the streets and need help – such as armed forces veterans who have fallen on hard times.

These are the people who need the support.

It will be harder for them to find help or a bed if services are taken up by time-wasters who keep getting thrown out of hostels because a homemade crack pipe is discovered under the mattress.

Colin Galloway, the UKIP councillor for Nelson ward in Portsmouth, recently put his to two-penneth in on homelessness in the city.

Reading between the lines, he wants the streets free from homeless people.

Isn’t that what everyone wants?

But the wording of his statement could have been misconstrued as wanting them rounded up and put into internment camps.

Possibly the language could have been better but his sentiment, that a tougher approach is needed, is not without validity.

At the end of the day, wherever you stand on the subject, no one should have to spend their lives sleeping rough on the streets.

SWAPPING BEERS FOR BEETROOT ON THE ROUNDS OF SUMMER FAIRS

The weather on Saturday was fabulous.

It was just right for sitting in a pub garden, drinking an ice cold beer.

I’m sure you all agree.

But instead, I had to go along to not one but two summer fetes.

I bumped into a friend and drinking buddy of mine at one of them, he was doing the rounds too.

So it’s fete crawls instead of pub crawls for me and my mates these days.

How times have changed.

There was talk of a third fair but there is only so many times you can guess the number of sweets in a jar or watch your kids trying to knock over tin cans with a bean bag.

All was not lost though.

I won a jar of beetroot and a selection box of dried fruit in the tombola.

RIP WELLARD II – YOU WERE THE BEST THING IN ALBERT SQUARE

Apparently EastEnders’ fans have been in mourning this week after it was revealed soap favourite Wellard II (the dog that used to accompany Robbie Jackson on set) has died.

Sadly it’s another star taken too soon and my thoughts are with all those at Albert Square.

For those wanting to attend, candlelight vigils are to be held outside BBC studios.

In all seriousness, there were apparently fans left ‘reeling’ and ‘heartbroken’ at the news.

Come on, have a day off.

Anyone heartbroken at this news probably needs to re-evaluate their life.

EastEnders bosses will have trouble replacing the hound though – he was the best actor on the show.