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begging/pick pocketing in surbiton

4 years ago...

I have been involved in 5 incidents of aggressive begging and attempted pickpocketing/robbery in surbiton in the last 4 days.....what has hapened to our town!?
i have lived in Surbiton for 7 years and have always enjoyed the safe and peaceful surroundings, but lately i have noticed a change in the environment with lots more people occupying the town centre asking for money or behaving in an intimidating way.
Last Thursday i took my daughter in her pram to feed the ducks, we always stop off at cafe nero, i grab a coffeee for me, something for her and a croissant for the ducks. As i turned on to james street, i noticed someone walking very close behind me so i stopped pretending that i was adjusting the pram so i could see who it was. i saw a gentleman of balkan/eurasian appearance in a blue hoodie behind me, he also stopped and pretended to look out to the road, so i walked on a few steps and turned sudenly only to see that he was following me again, i gestured to him as if to say 'what's the problem' and he turned away and walked back up to the station. As i walked on i suddenly became aware of another man of similar appearance by my side and stopped the pram again, this man walked passeed me crossed over the road, turned around and walked back to the station. Needless to say i was quite alarmed at the organised and proffesssional way in which these men were operating and reported the incident to the police.
As to the other incidents i was agressively asked for money outside the station on saturday and sunday by different individuals and last night i was asked for money and followed by 2 seperate individuals, 1 was standing outside the station and the other was standing outside waitrose, in both instances the individuals were very intimidating and close to me and only backed off after i physically threatened them, something incidentally i felt i had to do for my own safety.
where is the police presence in our town? im sure i am not the only one who has been experiencing these issues and i feel worried for others who may be easier targets, as these men were quite bold and threatening!


Agreed that this situation is getting out of control.

The guy that sits on the bench (complete with suitcase) every day with his mates is quite frankly, disgusting, and a complete eye sore for the town. They drink ALL day.

And yes, they are all English. At least the ones in Surbiton.

There's one who has a regular beat where he walks up and down the stretch roughly from Marks and Spencer's to Sainsbury's, stopping to ask people for money, often outside McDonald's. He is usually to be seen in the afternoon about four o'clock and possibly other times as well. He's been a fixture for quite a while. It's more than a year I would say, since I've become aware of him, having been accosted by him.

Many do give to him and it's usually young people I've seen handing over money. He can sometimes be seen going into the bookies. He regularly changes his clothing using different styles and colours of jackets and trousers and accessories including hats, knitted caps, knitted long scarves and glasses. Sometimes he sports dark lenses, other times clear glass or more often, he's without glasses.

And there is a recent arrival who sits on the ground near Marks and Spencer with a cardboard note and asks passersby for money.

We never seem to see the police or the PCSOs walking in the town centre any more...

That bloke needs to change his story. He's asked me for money to get home on about 10 different occasions. I remind him that's what he said last time and maybe he shouldn't travel to an area he can't get back from.

Wow he has different outfits, are you a detective?

A few weeks ago, I was caught on the 'back foot' as I walked out of my office onto the Claremont Rd at 7pm-ish.
I was asked for money by someone carrying a rolled up sleeping bag over his shoulder, saying he was homeless.
I normally don't give to beggars for all the usual reasons (I have donated to Shelter, Crisis and Centrepoint as my Xmas charities over the last three years) but as I said, caught on the back foot.
I rummaged in my pocket and gave him what change, a mixture of silver & coppers, I had in my pocket. As he walked he checked what I'd given him and threw away the coppers!
Throwing away money, he can't be THAT hard up can he? Even I don't do that.
Lesson learned and a week or so later when I was asked again by another beggar I told him the last person I gave to threw coins away, so has spoiled it for you.

This is just where we are as a country at the moment, unfortunately. It is definitely not just a Surbiton problem.

Many thousands of people have been imported from eastern Europe over the past few years and the vast majority of them come to work and are of a great benefit to our society. Unfortunately, a reasonable minority purely come over as they see the UK as an area of easy pickings.

Major stations like Surbiton are a flashpoint for this type of thing just because of the volume of people passing through. It is amazing how many people you see giving money to beggars who are obviously fake. This encourages more to join them, and inevitably then you are going to get problems when some of them overstep the mark and act in this manner rather than just begging.

I walk through a lot of areas of central London on a daily basis, so I guess I have become used to this type of thing but, like you, it still disturbs me to see it on the increase so close to home.

Stay safe!

The begging has been happening for several years, it used to be insane at Surbiton station but not so much anymore. Pretty much everywhere in London and Greater London (yes we are London) has this problem.
I also find it amusing people seem to think its just Eastern Europeans committing this crime, most beggars I've come across in Surbiton have English accents
If people want all of those 'imported' from Europe to be sent home we'll end up with all the ex pats who are in Spain coming back... and I'd rather have mix of culture not just those that shout in English while in a different country.

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