A MAN who police believe is pretending to be homeless could be banned from begging if a criminal behaviour order is approved.

Droitwich Police Sergeant Sarah Kent claims David Woodcock, who was recently fined in court for begging, is “deceiving people into giving him money.”

Speaking at a town council meeting on Monday, Sgt Kent said homelessness has increased in Droitwich in recent months but she says Woodcock does have a home.

“The beggar [Woodcock] who kept coming out into Droitwich was implying that he was homeless by carrying a sleeping bag with him,” she said.

“I know personally he’s not homeless and so therefore he was also deceiving people into giving him money which was not necessarily going to be used for the right things for him.”

Woodcock, 35, admitted begging and two charges of theft from shops, as well as breaching a Community Protection Notice when appearing in Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on December 20 last year.

Sergeant Kent told the Worcester News, Woodcock is currently away from Droitwich and that the CBO hearing will take place on March 1.

“The conditions we are applying for mostly relate to his begging activities in Droitwich and preventing this continuing,” she continued.

“David Woodcock regularly carried pillows and a sleeping bag with him, thereby implying that he was homeless when in fact he does have a home.”

The sergeant went on to say that while “begging is an offence”, many members of the public want to help those who “appear in need”.

“It’s important this is done in a way that will help that person in the longer term”.

She suggested taking money or other donations to the Droitwich Foodbank because otherwise money gained from begging is “often spent on items that are likely to cause the person harm”.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting, she said, a few years ago homelessness “probably wasn’t much of an issue in Droitwich but it has increased slightly in the last few months and probably reflects the national picture around homelessness”.

She said, particularly before Christmas, police had been getting an increased number of reports of begging in the town.

“I don’t know if any of you have been in Worcester recently, I personally find the number of beggars in Worcester quite appalling.

“I appreciate everyone has a different view on begging, but it’s very important that if you give money it goes to the right place and right person and the right things,” she added.