POLICE officers in Worcester braved the elements to raise more than £1,000 for homeless people in the city.

Officers and colleagues from the West Mercia Probation Trust and outreach workers from St Paul’s Hostel took part in a sleepover outside the Elgar Statue from 9pm last Friday until 6am the following day.

Funds raised will be shared between Worcester homelessness organisations St Paul’s Hostel and the Maggs Day Centre.

The event was the brainchild of Detective Constable Zoey Carter, who said the biggest problem faced by most offenders when they are released from prison is finding a home.

Colleagues who joined in the sleepover were DI Stuart Murphy, DS Stuart Hawkeswood, DC Simon Jury, officers from the Integrated offender management team including co-ordinator Becky Thorne, PC Julie Merry from St John’s and Bedwardine Safer Neighbourhood Team, probation officer Marco Gualano and Georgia Hobby, substance misuse worker at St Paul’s Hostel.

DC Carter said: “We want to thank everyone involved and the public for their amazing generosity. The team are very pleased we managed to make more than £1,000 for such worthy causes and strengthen links with our partner agencies, aiming together to support those less fortunate. Many find they are homeless and return to crime to fund themselves.

“We want to break that cycle of offending, so we work closely with local authorities and homelessness charities to get these people some kind of accommodation and off the streets.”

Marco Gualano, from the West Mercia Probation Trust, which works alongside the team, said it was important that those without housing in Worcester were given as much help as they need.

Ginette Sadler from St Paul’s Hostel – which provides 46 beds, a ‘dry’ house, substance misuse counselling and other services – said the organisation’s outreach team works closely with people sleeping rough to find ousing.