Romanian beggars set up camp in Park Lane, Mayfair, London
Romanian beggars evicted from Marble Arch in Mayfair, central London, have set up a new camp less then 50 yards away - in the central reservation of the busy Park Lane dual carriageway.
A group of more than 50 have been sleeping rough yards from the Mayfair tourist hub, overlooked by some of London’s most exclusive hotels and restaurants, since being moved on by police last month.
Organised gangs are thought to be transporting coach–loads of Romanians into the country in the run-up to the Olympics with instructions to work pre–allocated “pitches” as beggars, pickpockets and prostitutes.
The Standard newspaper yesterday witnessed police attempts to search the beggars – while just a few yards away out of sight some of the group were urinating in the street.
One British homeless man said it had become too dangerous to sleep out in central London because of Romanian gangs roaming around at night thieving at knifepoint.
Westminster Council has held a summit meeting of local agencies including the Foreign Office and representatives of the Romanian Embassy to discuss the problem. It repatriated 18 people to Romania recently but only after the coach company insisted on them being given showers and new clothes before they boarded a bus.
Last night a group of around 20 - split between elderly women with walking sticks and headscarves and men in their 30s with hooded jackets and mobile phones - sat together on a tatty blanket playing dice for piles of £1 coins in the dual carriageway’s central reservation.
An elderly woman broke away from the group to pull down her tights and relieve herself against a fence.
“It’s disgusting,” said Brian Portman, 46, from New Zealand, waiting to board an open-top bus tour. “It’s definitely not what you expect to see in London. It’s like something from the Third World.”
This is getting worse because of the Olympics, I worry that people are being duped into thinking there are jobs here.