COUNCIL bosses have given rough sleepers a clear message after clearing a York shop doorway of their cardboard and litter: “There is no need to rough sleep in York.”

A City of York Council letter has been posted in the doorway of the former Dorothy Perkins/Burtons store in Coney Street about the ‘accumulation of personal belongings, litter and rubbish.’

It said the council had received complaints that the mess in the area contained litter and urine, which was having a detrimental effect on the complainants’ quality of life.

"The items are also causing a concern due to the potential security threat,”it said, adding that the items had to be removed from the area by last Thursday and must not accumulate in a similar manner anywhere else in York.

An accompanying leaflet stated: “There is no need to rough sleep in York. Advice and support is available to help you obtain accommodation.” It goes on to give advice on what to do if homeless, mentioning organisations such as the Salvation Army.

Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing and community safety, told The Press that sleeping rough was ‘an indignity and a danger no-one should endure,’ and when officers met people sleeping rough, they always offered help into safe shelter and appropriate support into safer, more stable lives.

“Where people are sleeping on private land and we have had complaints about them, we offer them help and support into safer accommodation,” he said.

“If this is declined, we remind them to move their belongings and, if they are not with them when we have to issue an order to move, we leave a notice which repeats the offer of our homeless services and space for storage for belongings.

“In this instance, those involved removed their belongings as instructed and the area cleaned.”

“Life expectancy drops from 83 to 47 years of age on the streets and we continue to offer support to those in need.

"Besides our usual emergency 18 beds we’ve created 11 extra winter beds and the advice and support is there to ensure that no-one need sleep rough in York."