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Horrible women

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Real scenario: I was in London and witnessed two women with prepared paper flowers thrusting them at people on Westminster Bridge (though I have seen similar operating in Leicester Square in the past). They would approach people, even follow/stop them and thrust a flower into an automatically outreaching hand (or even forcibly place them through clothing) saying 'for you darling', then demand money. When no money has been given, the women's demeanour changes to one of unpleasantness and the flower is snatched back with a scowl.

Today I heard one say 'it's for charity today darling for all the poor children'. I couldn't let that one pass - I said loudly, and clearly, 'yeah right' to scowls and evil looks from these women. If it was for charity, then I'm the King of Siam. This angered me so much, really wishing the police would catch this lot (they simply move on I guess) and the court crack down on it. It's an unpleasant thing to have happen, let alone do to someone, and to top it off by saying it's all for charity today? (No collecting tins, no leaflets telling you what the charity was, just them saying 'it was for all the poor children' which obviously plays on pity). I wanted to have stayed there all day warning people, loudly, but I couldn't.

I don't see it fits 'assault' - there is no apprehension of fear of immediate violence as such, I think that'd be pushing it although you might just conceivably get it home. There are of course charity collecting rules and probably fraud here. What would you go for?

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Obtaining property by deception?

The deception is that the money received will be given to charity, a deception as to fact (if this is in fact the case, which of course would be the main part of any investigation - proving that the monies were not being given to charity darling) causing someone to hand over money that they might not otherwise have done.

All the other points to prove are there as well so it might be worth a try. Of course rules for collecting for charity would be the best starting point but it depends on what outcome is desired.

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I d try nicking them for begging and see where that goes, section 3 Vagrancy Act 1824

Edited by Gallifrey

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I d try nicking them for begging and see where that goes, section 3 Vagrancy Act 1824

Yeah, I like that one. Possibly public nuisance, as it is "so widespread" (I think thats the wording). A thin but technically correct S5 POA (continued harrassment) may be proven dependant on the actions towards the public - you did say following and stopping MOPs. Or perhaps a licensing offence.

Personally I'd leave them to it unless there was any specific complaint based upon your circs. The poor children just might be their own..... :unsure:

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Should the collecting for charity element not really be viable, in relation to potential offences for fraud & deception or the like?

Then it might just be a case of the devils in the detail, and looking at things such as street trading (hawkers) licences or collector’s licences and possible byelaws etc. although from what I’ve seen locally, most will have all their paperwork in order and simply add the “charity†element into their personal conversations – thereby suggesting and implying its for charity, without having any signs or items that could demonstrate the deception element.

It might be worth contacting the local council, as most are eager to rid their streets of this type of nuisance - Via ASBO’s when necessary, and by being the council, they will be up to speed on local byelaws on street trading etc.

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These people have been around for ever... Charity collections generally need to be licenced, in London this is done by the Police, elsewhere it's handled by the local government. It all changes when the Chatities Act 2006 comes in to effect Oct 2009, but it's fairly irrelevant as clearly the odds of the people you're referring to being legitimate is basically zero.

I would presume that any enforcement would be by way of summons... god only knows what the penalty is... it would be nice to see something done but there aren't the resources, there's been a bit of a outbreak of illegal street gambling on the Southbank of late as well... but there's no point calling it in as no one will come.

There are also packs of dodgy types that come up to London with collecting pots, they invite you to put money in and tend to focus on the pubs Thursday/Friday...quite often you're given a sweet in return... the label on the pot says that a proportion of the money will go to a charity... I believe they keep the silver coins and give the coppers to charity... it's always interesting to stop/check these people, they always have a CRO in my experience, hardly a big surprise.

Visitors to London should also be especially careful about leaving items on tables (phones etc) both indoors and outdoors... if you're approached by someone that appears to be looking for directions, has poor English and thrusts a tube map in you face you're being robbed!

It also never ceases to amaze me how many men you still see walking around with their wallet in the back pocket of their jeans.

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Hmmmmmm - This one has got me thinking. (I like these!) At first I was going to say that if the women had all been heard by the Aggd and witnesses to say that they were selling the flowers for charity and that it would go to a charity - and that they then receive monies in turn for a flower then I would look at Fraud By False Representation (Making a gain by making a false representation in this case stating that the money would go to a charity etc)

However,

If they have not said they were from a specific charity, had tins, badges, uniforms etc then I suppose this would be quite difficult to prove in the aspect that they could argue they are just selling flowers and were going to donate some of the money they receive to charity so I cant see how we could ever prove it.

The Begging one I would not go with as once again they could argue they are not begging.....merely selling flowers (All be it in a more forceful manner than others).

The only one I could possibly think of would be Sec 5 or 4 POA - Threatening/Abusive behaviour likely to cause harrassment (yes) alarm, (maybe) distress (I would say so!)

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I think the easiest thing would be to refer the matter to your council's trading standards department. This is one of the things that trading standards were created to deal with and they certainly know a lot more about the relevant offences than we do.

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Obtaining property by deception?

I don't think that's an offence anymore.

Depending on if they were static/moving, I'd demand to see their street trader/peddlars licence (I think I know what the answer would be) and stick them on.

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Being in the Metropolis they need a street collection licence, if they don't then you can move them on and take their ill-gotten gains. They are also required to have a letter from the charity they are collecting for.

Then if you cant think of anything else obstruction of the highway!

I agree David these people are a pain and should be moved on

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I'd move them onto another borough... :unsure:

Lol! i would never do such a thing!

Incredibly annoying these people, we have several like it around here and also the hardcore beggars who really get my goat up i was once called a Charlie Uniform November Tango for refusing to give the chap money it happened that this was about the 3rd time he had approached me that day!!

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