PEOPLE are flying into Cork from Romania with return tickets to beg on the streets, Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin has said.
“There is an element of organised begging in Cork. We have prosecuted a large number of people who were arrested for offences under the begging legislation and we have secured evidence that suggests that some elements are organised,” he said.
Chief Supt McPolin said they have had a number of prosecutions in court that involved people who purchased return tickets to Romania so they were coming in and out of here to use Cork as a base to get involved in begging activity.
Discussing the possibility of a central figure who is organising and managing the beggars, Chief Supt McPolin said it was possible, but not something they had intelligence on at the moment.
“It may be a possibility that someone is organising this type of activity, however, at this juncture, we haven’t identified anyone. It may be organised collectively, we don’t know.”
Chief Supt said it was something that they were keeping an eye on.
“It is something that we bear in mind that we are very conscious of and we work very closely with the Cork Business Association (CBA) and the traders in Cork city.”
Chief Executive of the CBA, Lawrence Owens, said he believes there is an organiser managing some of the begging in Cork at the moment, which he calls “worrying.”
“People should be very aware of who they are giving money to on the street,” he said.