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Beggars say they will earn up to £80 an hour over Christmas thanks to shoppers

Beggars say they can make around £80 an hour from being on the streets over Christmas.

One beggar, a 31-year-old mum-of-two from Leeds, West Yorkshire, says she can make a “stupid amount” during the festive periods.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, has spoken of how Christmas sees an increase in contributions.

She says Christmas brings out the kindness in people wanting to help them.

Speaking to Leeds Live, the woman said: “At Christmas time, I’ve always made a lot of money. I don’t how much – about £80 an hour, a stupid amount. I remember sitting at Christmas markets and getting a lot of money.

“It feels wrong really because people feel sorry for you and you get food and you get money, but it’s just a s*** situation.”

The mum, who currently lives in a caravan, admitted to relapsing back to drugs after being on-and-off the streets.

Another beggar, who was set beside the first woman, also agrees that people are really generous to those on the street.

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The 49-year-old said: “You can get some beautiful people out there that will come up and go: ‘Right look, we know you’re homeless’ and they’ll give you bits-and-bats, they’ll help you out. They’re really kind.

“But you can get lots of moody people as well that just look at you like you’re dirt.”

The former fish and chip worker continued by admitting to being an alcoholic and was begging due to feeling “abandoned” by society.

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They say there is a community between beggars in Leeds and that people are drawn to returning to the life due to a sense of “freedom”

“Being homeless, people are drawn to it, you’re free from bills and you feel ‘free’ from that,” added the 31-year-old.

“Because you know everyone else on the street, you feel like you’re part of some sort of community."

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The government released figures last month revealing 91 families became homeless each day as lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “While the government’s benefits support for people in work will provide a vital lifeline for some, it won’t help everyone in need.

“The months ahead are going to be very hard with soaring food and energy prices on top of extortionate and rising rents.

“If struggling families are to stand a chance at recovery, the government has to build decent social homes – it is the only solution to homelessness that will last.”

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