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New plan to rid city of chugger "parasites"
CHUGGERS are set to be banned from Worcester for up to six days a week after furious councillors branded them “parasites” and “a plague on the streets”.
The controversial face-to-face charity collectors will be restricted to only operating in the city one or two days a week – one day of which is likely to be a Saturday.
The agreement will be a voluntary one, but council chiefs have warned that if it is ignored they will consider a bylaw to rid Worcester of the “pests”.
The city council’s licensing committee has ordered officers to strike a deal with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), which represents the charities.
Councillor Richard Udall said: “I’m fed up of them, they really annoy me and it’s about time we did something about it – they are parasites who are taking advantage of the vulnerable. They come to Worcester and pester people and it really is not on, they are not welcome here.”
Coun Simon Cronin, a fellow member of the licensing committee, said: “These guys are a plague on the streets, I was sheltering out of the rain by Debehhams and I heard one pester people by saying ‘are you English and friendly’ as an opening gambit.
“Then eventually he came for me and I cleared off. They are a real nuisance.”
Coun Alan Amos added: “People across Worcester are getting really fed up with it.”
During the meeting Coun Lucy Hodgson, a member of the Conservative cabinet, said she had been “pestered three or four times” in a single walk down the High Street.
Several members of the committee wanted to pursue a bylaw now, but after further debate they resolved to ask officers to draw up a voluntary agreement with the PFRA immediately and if that failed, to take steps to outlaw them.
The council’s offer will be for no more than two days, preferably one. The collectors ask people in the street for direct debit payments towards charities and have proved unpopular up and down the country.
Wolverhampton, Gloucester and Cheltenham have agreed to three-days-a-week maximums after complaints from residents, while 42 other councils have similar agreements in place.
Ian MacQuillan, from the PRFA, said: “We’d be seeking an agreement with Worcester in line with similar sized cities, and will be happy to pursue it. There has to be a balance struck as charities don’t get money unless they ask.”