Beggars, skateboarders and 'loiterers' could face £100 fines in Greater Manchester town

-Credit: (Image: Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News)
-Credit: (Image: Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News)

Beggars, loiterers and skateboarders could be fined £100 if they are caught in Rochdale town centre.

A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) extended in the town centre will see perpetrators fined if they are caught begging; driving in an antisocial manner; obstructing the roads or loitering; collecting money for charities or companies without permission; and skateboarding or using a scooter in the town centre. Street drinkers could also be hit with a fine, but as part of a borough-wide PSPO.

The local authority can also issue a warning for breaching the order before a fine is sanctioned. A Community Protection Notice Warning (CPNW) or a Community Protection Notice (CPN) can also be issued. For more serious offenders, action is considered up to a civil Injunction or Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).

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Town hall bosses agreed to continue with the PSPO for another three years in a bid to crack down on antisocial behaviour at the most recent town hall meeting on May 28.

This order was originally approved and implemented in Rochdale town centre back in 2017 and extended in 2021 to address a number of behaviours which the council felt needed controlling, the meeting was told.

Rochdale signage -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News
Rochdale signage -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

Coun Shah Wazir, praising the PSPO extension, spoke of a current problem on Yorkshire Street where there is a ‘particularly aggressive beggar’ who is approaching cars on the busy road junction. He asked for that issue to be looked into as well.

Between July 2021 and March 2024, Greater Manchester Police and Rochdale Council data recorded just under 100 breaches of the order, a report found. A large majority of those incidents related to begging.

Within that same time period, 19 warnings were given, six CPNs, two fines and one CBO was issued by the council.

A report, justifying the reasoning behind the order extension read: “The order currently provides reassurance to the public that action is able to be taken to tackle these issues should they arise at any point.

"The existing order works well, giving officers additional powers to enforce upon problematic individuals found to be in breach, whilst also providing a strong deterrent for anti-social behaviour.

“The order is well publicised across the area and the majority of regular visitors are aware of it being in place.

"The current staged re-opening of the town hall is expected to generate a significantly higher number of visitors to the town centre over coming months, which could contribute to an increase of anti-social behaviour.

“This is a further reason that it is felt an extension to the order is required.”