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Hostels targeted for street labour
Homeless hostels have been targeted by people looking to get the street community to work for them.
Sussex Police’s police street team tweeted to “end human exploitation” after reports were made that individuals had visited St Patrick’s Hostel in Hove.
The team said: “Looking into reports of individuals trying to get street community to work for them laying paving, promises of caravan to sleep in, food [and] pay.
“Be careful, not all are given what they get promised. Agencies please report this type of approach.”
It comes just a few years after Sussex Police confirmed reports to The Argus that traveller families were targeting homeless people in the county.
A Sussex Police spokeswoman said there had been two visits to St Patrick’s hostel and visits to other services in Brighton and Hove where people have been offered work in paving.
She said to their knowledge no one had taken up the offer.
Sergeant Richard Siggs said: “There are risks associated with such offers of work.
“We have given out posters in English, Polish and other languages to ensure people are aware and cautious of accepting such work.
‘A living nightmare’ “No one should accept a verbal offer of accommodation, pay and food as a guarantee.
“Should they choose to go, then contact details, registration numbers etc should be taken.
“We are working with partner agencies to make sure the vulnerable in our society are not exploited.”
Nikki Homewood, Brighton Housing Trust’s director of homelessness services, said: “While BHT is keen to encourage people with a history of homelessness to find work, we agree with the police that these offers of accommodation and housing are not always what they appear to be.
“Informal labouring jobs can exploit and rip off people who are desperate.
“Come the end of the week there is no pay, the accommodation might be unsafe or even nonexistent and the charge for it can be as much as people earn.
“If people get injured there is no insurance and what appears to be a tempting offer can turn into a living nightmare.
“Our advice is to be wary when offered attractive jobs by people you don’t know and who your friends don’t know.
“If you have any doubts, don’t take the work and report it to one of Brighton’s homeless charities.”
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