I HAVE been a political activist for more than 20 years having stood as a local authority candidate several times.

I have made it my business to talk to homeless people whenever possible.  I am trying to find out why one of the richest countries in the world has people sleeping rough on the streets.

It is a myth that only drug addicts and alcoholics become homeless.  Many people do not realise that they are only one pay cheque from becoming homeless themselves.

One of the rough sleepers in Boundary Road has told me that the police have told him that he is not allowed to sleep rough there again. 

If he does he will be arrested and prosecuted. 

I have told him to go online and get a copy of the Highways Act.  That entitles him to pass and re-pass, rest on his journey and take his ease.

So Sussex Police does not have the resources to patrol the streets dealing with cycling on the pavements, illegal parking on bus stops and crossings, or assist the local shopkeepers in dealing with shoplifters. 

The police once told my wife’s manager that shoplifting is a victimless crime.  The fact that he was losing as much as £1,000 a week to shoplifters was of no concern.

The police cannot protect local women from violent males.

They can only say that lessons will be learnt every time a woman dies.

Yet they have the resources to persecute a homeless person who owns nothing but what he can carry around each day, telling him that it is a crime to try and stay dry in a shop doorway.

It makes me ashamed to think that I was once a Sussex police officer myself.

Stuart Bower, Hallyburton Road, Hove