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Police have targeted rough sleepers in Ilford, Essex, taking sleeping bags and food parcels donated by the public.
Local reports said police swooped on a group of eight men sleeping in the former Ilford Baths in mid-May, bundling their possessions into a police car and leaving the rough sleepers “stunned”.
One man, Adam Jaskowik, told the Ilford Recorder he had pleaded with police to be able to keep his things but was ignored. Mr Jaskowiak, 34, said: “They were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it and the food, but they said ‘no’.
“I just grabbed as many of my things as possible and put them into a bag and ran.”
Ilford chief inspector John Fish told the newspaper: “The public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers, this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”
John Clifton, 26, corps officer at the Salvation Army, which had donated some of the items said: “I’m shocked and disgusted. Why would you take the only form of shelter someone has from them?
“We have tried to find out why they were taken and if we can get them back.”
• This is not the first time The Pavement has heard about police harassment and it’s unlikely to be the last. If you have experienced something similar, or you know someone who has, please get in touch by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org