Rough sleepers driven out of town by criminal orders

After two years in same spot, homeless man threatened with big fineY

Monday, 4th April — By Isabelle Stanley

campics310322 Image 2022-03-31 at 10.30.18 PM (4)

Yulian lives in a tent in Tottenham Court Road



A HOMELESS man who has lived in a tent on Tottenham Court Road for two years is facing court and a £2,500 fine – money he doesn’t have – for failing to pick up his belongings and go.

The case has led to warnings that new Community Protection Notices (CPN) are being used to drum people out of town rather than help them reach services.

Yulian, who sleeps in a blue tent on the famous shopping street, was handed one of the notices three weeks ago and was arrested for breaching its terms last week.
Human rights group Liberty has now taken up his case ahead of a court date next month.

Yulian said: “I’ve been in this spot for two years and two months – everything is always clear.

“I don’t drink and dance, I don’t touch ladies, no drugs, no prostitutes, nothing – I keep it clean. I don’t give anyone stress.”

On Friday, he showed the New Journal his collection of brooms and his dustbin with a bin liner, and said: “People walk past and smash bottles. I clean it up. Once, I stopped a bike phone theft and got a woman her phone back.”

He added: “I’ve found credit cards and handed them to the police.”

The CPN issued by the police contains a number of accusations, saying Yulian plays loud music, drinks on the street, leaves litter and annoys the public.

It said that if he continued to do any of these things, he would face criminal prosecution.

People who live and work near him say he has never done any of these things. Fernando Burgos, who has lived nearby for two years and sees Yulian most days, said: “He’s always been neat, he plays quiet music, he’s never been a problem.”

And stall owners in the market by his tent said there was no issue with him being there.

“He’s never been a problem – sometimes his music is loud,” said one.

“But if you ask him to turn it down he always will. Some of his friends that visit are a problem, but he always makes them stop.”

An employee of Natuzzi, a furniture shop next to where Yulian’s tent was, said that while she had known him for years and thought he was “not a bad guy”, she had felt concerned for her safety when she was working alone after dark and he came in to charge his phone.

She added: “Unfortunately, it’s a luxury brand and it did not look good to have his tent outside – it wasn’t good for custom.”

Lara ten Caten, from Liberty, said the conditions imposed by the CPN are unreasonable and far too stringent, adding: “One of the conditions given to Yulian is that he can’t loiter on a pavement without an appointment that he can prove – that sounds like he can’t just stand on a pavement ever again.”

She added: “Another is that he can’t make excessive noise anywhere in London. This means he couldn’t protest outside Downing Street with a loudspeaker.”


Ms ten Caten said: “Everything is wrong with [these notices]. They say they are trying to sort out homelessness with them, but I can’t see how they assist anyone. They just criminalise someone with very broad provisions that people can’t comply with.”

In February, the New Journal revealed that at least 22 of the notices have been served on rough sleepers in the past year – half of those involved have then been arrested for breaching them.

Ms ten Caten said: “I think the police just consider it an easy win, because people don’t know how to appeal the notices and there is no legal aid for it. Then they can just say they are doing something about homelessness.”

PC Michael O’Grady said: “It is important to acknowledge the harmful effects of entrenched street activity both on the individuals themselves and on local communities. The use by the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] of Community Protection Notices is proportionate to individual circumstances and is designed to address reported anti-social behaviour, within the locality.

“The use of the CPN tool includes positive requirement including access to housing and treatment options and can be instrumental in ensuring that individuals access the services they need to rebuild their lives, sometimes for the first time after years of street activity.”

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