A HOMELESS man given a police warning for “aggressive begging” says it was a case of mistaken identity.

Andy Lane, 35, who is currently homeless in Malvern, claims he was wrongly served with a Community Protection Notice to leave the area because of mistaken identity.

He said the notice was supposed to have been issued by the police safer neighbourhood team to a beggar who was outside the Malvern Tourist Information Centre.

Andy said: “I want people to know that me and my partner are not causing any trouble.

“If I was aggressive with anyone, I would never be given money. Aggressive begging would never work.

“I sit here [Church Walk] because it’s one of the few places which provides shelter from the rain.

“If I sat in a shop doorway during the day, I would cause a nuisance for the shopkeepers during the day."

Members of the community have spoken out in support of Andy.

Shopkeeper Ross Wanklin, aged 38, of the Cloud Head vape shop in Church Walk, said: "I’ve not seen any aggressive begging outside my shop at all.”

Jai Teather, aged 42, who has also spent time living homeless due to mental health issues, added: "I met Andy about six weeks ago when I moved to the area.

“He’s always so nice and polite and when I gave him a cigarette, he saved half of it for his female partner who’s nice too.

“People don’t realise how easy it is to become homeless.”

Andy added: "The police officer that wrongly gave me the notice owes me an apology.”

Officer Susan Parr, from the police safer neighbourhood team for Malvern, said she could not disclose the name of the person given the order and thus could not discuss Andy's claim that he was mistaken for someone else.

See worcesternews.co.uk for updates on this story.