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Local News

Heartbreak as Sheffield woman died in city centre begging for money to fund drug addiction


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A charity has issued a heartfelt plea after a woman desperate to fund her drug addiction died begging in a Sheffield street.

Emergency services were called to Castle Square on Tuesday evening to reports a woman in her 50s had suffered a “medical episode”.

Despite their best efforts, she tragically died at the scene in the city centre, South Yorkshire Police has confirmed.

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The woman who was not homeless but turned to begging to fund her spice addiction had refused to go to hospital in favour of continuing to beg, according to a charity boss.

Speaking on behalf of Help Us Help, Tim Renshaw, CEO of The Archer Project, said the tragic death ‘highlights the concern that many agencies working with the homeless community have about begging’ and asked the public to not give money directly to people begging.

He explained: “ We don’t know if the death could have been prevented but we do know that the medics weren’t given a good chance to save life. And we know that if begging wasn’t profitable that person would have spent time with drug treatment services instead of hours sat in a doorway asking passers-by for money.

“Many will have assumed the person was homeless but they had a home. Their success in getting money through begging kept them away from that too. We know all of this because each day the various outreach teams talked with this person, offering the real support they needed, but the pull of money raised through begging was too strong.

“Not everyone on the street is an addict but there are many reasons why they might be, such as some form of childhood trauma or family break ups.”

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Mr Renshaw continued: “The person who died wouldn’t go to hospital when they felt ill. The city centre Ambassadors were with that person throughout the day and, I’m told, they tried to get them to go to hospital. However, the person stayed in the doorway because begging would give them the money to buy the spice they were addicted to.

“The drug dealers may have seen the events unfolding because their job is to sell the drugs, and this person was a customer. As ever, the dealers were nowhere to be seen when help was needed – they never are. A dead person can’t spend money.”

He added: “We appreciate that people do want to help, and how difficult it can be to resist giving money direct to those who are begging.

“However there are better ways to make a difference than giving money to people sat on the street. Support the local agencies who, day by day, provide food, drinks, nursing and other medical support.”

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Written by: Rother Radio News

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