Concerns raised over beggars at Chesterfield car park
A police chief insists his officers are taking action to tackle begging in Chesterfield - after concerns were raised about people asking for money at the town's Donut car park.
A resident told the Derbyshire Times he regularly sees beggars at the ticket machines requesting spare change from drivers.
The resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "Begging is a criminal offence but there doesn't seem to be any action taken by police or the council to stop this."
Inspector Dave Nicholls, who is in charge of policing for the Chesterfield area, said: "We are aware of concerns about individuals sitting close to the pay machines at the Donut car park, and our officers will respond to reports when we get them.
"We can and do ask people to move from the machines, which they usually will do, but often return later.
"We will take action and will look to prosecute individuals for begging where we have evidence which would include our officers having to witness a person asking for money, or for a victim to report it to us, provide a statement and be willing to go to court if necessary.
"We understand it is quite a sensitive issue, and the thought of going to court can be quite a daunting prospect, but the issue does continue and so we are working with partnership agencies to look at ways in which we can prevent this from happening in the long term."
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Chesterfield Borough Council's leader, added: "We take the safety of our residents and visitors very seriously.
"Begging at cash machines and payments machines is covered by the Chesterfield town centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) and the council works closely with the police to monitor and carry out appropriate enforcement activity.
"If anyone sees begging at cash machines or payment machines in the town centre, they can report it at https://secure.chesterfield.gov.uk/forms/?townpspo or with the police using the non-emergency 101 number."