Homeless near Windsor Castle have sleeping bags taken away by police before Meghan Markle and Harry’s big day

Police officers REMOVE sleeping bags and belongings of homeless people living on streets outside Windsor Castle – but promise to return them after the royal wedding

-Footage shows two officers taking sleeping bags and other possessions owned by the homeless living on the streets near Windsor Castle

-The officers ask two homeless men to pack up their items in transparent plastic bags

-They were filmed taking the sealed bags and putting them into their police van

-The homeless were sleeping on streets outside Windsor Castle yards from St George’s Chapel where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will wed on Saturday

-Comes after Tory council leader Simon Dudley called on rough sleepers to be removed from Windsor before the big day

-Security is being ramped up with anti-terror measures as military moves in

Police said today they were offering the homeless an opportunity to store their items until after the big day. The area around Windsor Castle is now being secured, with anti-terror bollards being erected and a heavy police presence moving in before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry say I do on Saturday. Murphy James of the Windsor Homeless Project, said the plans to remove the possessions of rough sleepers into storage for the duration of the wedding celebrations had already been made clear, ‘but there is no suggestion of people forcibly being taken off the streets’, he said.

It comes four months after Windsor council leader Simon Dudley caused outrage for calling for rough sleepers to be ‘cleared out’ of the town in time for the ceremony. In a letter to Thames Valley police he urged police to take action against ‘aggressive begging and intimidation’ and ‘bags and detritus’ accumulating on the streets. ‘The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light,’ he wrote. Later on Twitter, he referred to ‘an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in Windsor’ and said he wanted police to ‘focus on dealing with this before the #RoyalWedding’. Dudley was criticised by national and local homeless charities. Theresa May, whose constituency falls in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM), publicly took issue with his comments.

But in the recent video filmed in Windsor, one homeless man who was made to pack away his possessions says: ‘There was big speak on the TV about the homeless being helped but when they said helped they meant removed. ‘I understand that there isn’t the resources but Children In Need and Red Nose Day have been going on for how long? Is it getting any better? No, worse. ‘Any charity – legally six per cent – that’s all they have to give. I understand they have people who they employ and stuff like that. But we help other countries when there’s enough British people who need help.’ At least six bags were removed and taken to the back of a parked police van. As the men kept hold of water bottles and small possessions, one of the officers is heard asking: ‘Right, is that all you need for the next few days?’

Thames Valley Police are working closely with The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, The Windsor Homeless Project, and local support services in order to offer support to local homeless people. Officers are also working with a homeless project in Sussex to offer further support. A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: ‘A scheme has been set up for those who choose, to store their belongings at the Windsor Homeless Project during the Royal Wedding, and our officers have been assisting with transport of belongings, however this is entirely voluntary to ensure the safety of the homeless community. ‘We will continue to engage and work in partnership to support the communities of Windsor. ‘The Royal Wedding is a national celebration and everyone is welcome, however everyone in Windsor on the day of the wedding will be subject to a search and screening. ‘Anyone with large items that are deemed to be a security risk are likely to have those items removed.’

Keith Whitfield, 45, who sleeps in the corner of a bus shelter opposite the royal castle, told the Guardian that the situation for rough sleepers in Windsor ‘did get momentarily better’ when the media’s attention was brought to the situation in light of the royal wedding, ‘but it was all show’. He has been homeless since a relationship ended seven years ago and has sporadically been offered bed and breakfast accommodation in Southall, a 40-minute train ride away. There are extra police patrols in place in the lead up to the royal wedding and police snipers, special-forces troops and heavily armed guards will be in place on the day. There will also be road blocks in place and a no-fly zone will be in force during the service.

A Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead spokesperson said: ‘As part of our ongoing work, the council has been working with local charities, health partners and the police to ensure that those who are homeless know what support is available to them and how they can access it. ‘In addition, during this extremely busy period, all those who are homeless and have a local connection have been offered safe places to stay. For those not wanting to take up the offer of somewhere to stay, an offer is being made to keep their possessions safe – whilst the town sees an unprecedented number of visitors. ‘We hope individuals will take up the offer to so that we can help prevent them from losing possessions on a day when the town will be extremely busy.

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Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5732631/Moment-police-remove-sleeping-bags-homeless-outside-Windsor-Castle-Harry-Meghans-wedding.html
Source : https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/16/police-have-started-removing-homeless-peoples-sleeping-bags-in-windsor-7549339/

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