UPDATE: Church authorities 'monitoring situation' after tent appears in Crooked Spire grounds
The Vicar of the Crooked Spire Church in Chesterfield says they are 'monitoring the situation' after a tent was pitched in their grounds overnight.
Revd. Patrick Coleman says they became aware of the tent when they arrived to set up for this morning's service, and have reported the matter to the police.
The Church's grounds are currently protected by one of the recently imposed Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) but - as they are civil offences - the police have no powers to immediately enforce them.
Revd. Coleman added that he and the churchwardens do retain the right in criminal law to remove anyone causing a 'nuisance' - but that right too is limited by their ability to enforce.
Speaking this afternoon, Revd. Coleman said: “We are aware that a tent was erected in the churchyard on Sunday morning, and we are monitoring the situation.
"If we consider that there is any danger to the public wishing to visit the church or use the open space in the churchyard, including possible sanitary issues, we will request an enforcement of the recent Public Spaces Protection Order which in any case prohibit the erection of tents within the town centre.
"The church supports and works with a variety of agencies offering accommodation and support to the homeless.”
The man who is currently living in the tent is staying there with his partner and their two dogs.
He does not want to be named but says he is 'genuinely homeless' and complained of being 'persecuted' by the authorities.
More on this developing story will follow as and when we get it.