Cambridgeshire

Peterborough homeless pair must leave shopping arcade

St Peter's Arcade, Peterborough Image copyright Google
Image caption The pair have been regularly sleeping rough at St Peter's Arcade in the city since September last year

Two rough sleepers must leave a Peterborough shopping arcade where they have been accused of taking drugs and having sex, a court has ruled.

Peterborough City Council sought a High Court order against Charlie White and Albertina Boardean.

The pair have been regularly sleeping rough at St Peter's Arcade in the city centre since September.

The couple's "unreasonable conduct" was having a "detrimental effect" on residents and shops, the court heard.

Wayne Beglan, for the council, said complaints included "fighting, taking drugs, selling drugs, sexual intercourse in public, swearing at local residents, aggressive begging, urinating and defecating in public areas".

'Behaviour unacceptable'

They were also accused of "sleeping in the doorways of businesses and refusing to move when the businesses require to open".

Mr Beglan argued that the "deliberate, persistent and flagrant nature" of the pair's behaviour warranted them being excluded from the arcade, which includes a restaurant, dental practice and bar.

Judge Graham Wood QC said the court had "immense sympathy for those who have lost their homes and who are forced to sleep rough".

Homelessness is a "feature of social inequality and disadvantage which still exists", he told the court in London.

But he said that, if the complaints against Mr White and Ms Boardean were justified, their behaviour was "totally and utterly unacceptable".

"This is an appropriate case in which an injunction should be granted," he ruled.

He ordered the couple to vacate St Peter's Arcade by 18:00 BST on Wednesday.

The judge warned the pair that the court order has "teeth" and said the couple could be arrested if they breach it.

Mr White and Ms Boardean were neither present, nor legally represented, at the hearing.