A vicar in Oxford has threatened homeless people with legal action to stop them sleeping rough in his churchyard.
The Rev Canon Dr Andrew Bunch said he was forced to take action after six homeless men set up two tents and a cardboard shelter in the churchyard at St Giles’ Church
The Independent reports:
Canon Dr Andrew Bunch said he was “sympathetic” to those who had set up tents among the gravestones of Oxford’s St Giles’ Church. But he told the BBC that “it was becoming a bit of problem”, and in a letter to those sleeping rough, he said the church would get a court order unless they moved on.
“They were causing us trouble because we found that people were feeling threatened as they were walking through,” he said, adding that he only wrote the letter after he asked them to leave and they refused.
The vicar said he had also received reports about needles being found in the area. “We didn’t feel that was the right place for that sort of activity, given that we’ve got other homeless people in the area and also we’ve got young children,” he said.
The church already works with rough sleepers and also hosts a homeless charity in its parish rooms, he added.
After receiving the letters the occupants took their tents down and left, although it is unclear where they went. In his letter, Canon Bunch recommended they contact Oxford City Council’s street population outreach team.