HOMELESS campaigners have criticised a charity for “colluding” with the Government in a “divisive” policy to deport rough sleepers back to their European homelands.

Love Activists Brighton have called on St Mungo’s to stop their complicity in the scheme to forcibly transport homeless men and women from European Economic Area (EEA) countries back to where they are from.

The scheme has seen at least a dozen individuals rounded up in Brighton and Hove since November including Polish builder Pawel Legomina who had worked on the renovation of the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

St Mungo’s, who are now reviewing the approach of its outreach teams, said it only shared information with the Home Office with the consent of individuals affected or when they were at risk.

A Home Office official confirmed to The Argus that homeless charities have no obligation to cooperate with the Government on the scheme.

A report by not-for-profit campaign group Corporate Watch revealed documents from St Mungo’s seeming to indicate it was policy for outreach workers to pass details of clients to immigration services if they did not engage with their services.

In a Freedom of Information response to migrant and housing campaign groups, Islington council said St Mungo’s would refer clients to the Home Office if there was a query over a rough sleeper’s immigration status and they failed to engage with the charity.

The council response also states any EEA national who turned down the offer of a “supported reconnection” to their homeland would be referred to the Home Office.

London-based St Mungo’s was awarded a three-year contract to run Brighton and Hove City Council’s homeless service in 2015 with a promise to bring a 20 per cent annual reduction in rough sleepers.

Latest government figures show the city had the biggest rise anywhere in the country from 78 to 144.

Love Activists have written to St Mungo’s saying their involvement in the scheme was “deeply troubling” and called for them to stop.

Campaigners said homeless charities should be working to support rough sleepers and not “colluding” in their forced removal.

St Mungo’s chief executive Howard Sinclair said: “We do not share information about people to the Home Office, except when an individual has given their consent, or in situations where people are at risk.

“If the person is vulnerable, teams would look to offer appropriate support in the UK, or in the person’s home country where this is not an option.

“Where local authorities or the Home Office decide to take action against individuals or groups who are sleeping rough, we do work with them to ensure people who are vulnerable get the help that they need.

“The stark reality is that without any intervention people would remain destitute and at real risk of harm on the streets.”

A Home Office spokesman said rough sleeping and begging by EU nationals was an increasing problem, particularly in the centre of major cities.

He added: “It is unacceptable for anyone to come to the UK with the intention of sleeping rough or to beg on the streets to support themselves.

“Those who are encountered rough sleeping may be misusing their free movement rights.”