A COUNCILLOR has apologised after saying she would turn a pressure washer on homeless tents.

Last month, The Argus reported how rough sleepers, who had been offered accommodation by Brighton and Hove City Council, had pitched tents outside the town hall, angering nearby businesses.

In response, Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett said: “If I owned one of the shops in the square and owned a pressure washer, I would turn it on them.”

The comment caused an online backlash, with socialist activist Alex McIntyre, organiser of a strike against Wetherspoons, branding the comment “disgusting language” adding it is “dehumanising vulnerable people”.

The representative for Hangleton and Knoll has now apologised for the comment.

She said: “I want to apologise to anybody who might have been affected by that comment.

“I didn’t literally mean people.

“But I can understand how it might have been interpreted like that.

“When taken in context with the whole interview, it was meant to refer to the whole area as looking dirty.

“I didn’t mean to upset anybody and If I did then I am sorry.”

Cllr Barnett added that Sheep Coat Valley, in Brighton, would be a better place to pitch tents and stay.

The rough sleepers in tents outside Brighton Town Hall in Bartholomew Square have now left the area.

They were given previously court papers, informing those inside that enforcement action was set to begin.

This came after a number of complaints of antisocial behaviour from nearby businesses and members of the public.

The Argus understands that offers of accommodation and support were made to those inside the tents.

One tent accommodated Kieran Spiteri and Bernice Howley.

They are the “homeless lovebirds” who camped for months in Duke Street, Brighton.

The council, who initiated the court action, said it was concerned for those inside and spent considerable time engaging with them.

Cllr Barnett said that she and fellow Conservative councillor, Mary Mears, have been working hard to help the homeless in the city.

She said: “Last year I was rounding up coats and delivering them to homeless in the winter months.

“Mary and I have been working very hard to find out where the £10 million the council receives for the homeless is going.

“We want to know how this money is being spent and how effectively it is being spent.”