Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds Lulu bulldog charity homeless food handouts told to stop

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Media captionDion Smith asks for donations for his 'Lulu the charity bulldog' scheme to hand out free soup and bread to homeless people

A jeweller who uses his pet bulldog to raise money to help feed rough sleepers has been told to stop his charitable work.

Dion Smith has been giving free food to the homeless from his shop doorstep in Leeds' Corn Exchange since January.

Street wardens told him to stop because "it was intimidating people", he said.

Leeds Business Improvement District (BID), which promotes the city, said its wardens had acted upon concerns raised by another retailer and charity.

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Mr Smith, whose dog Lulu sits in the window or on the steps of his shop next to signs for the charity, said it was "soul destroying when I had to remove" the bread and packets of soup from the shop last week.

"One the first day I had one or two lads knocking on the shop window asking where all the soup had gone and if there was any chance of a cuppa soup, so I says 'look I've had to stop it, sorry'.

"Turning someone away - that was the worst.

"After that day I thought I'm going to carry it on."

Image caption Mr Smith says he will continue his charitable work

Leeds BID, which does not have any legislative powers to enforce such bans, said the charity and retailer had told its volunteers that they "felt intimidated by people using Dion Smith's service".

It said it wanted to talk to Mr Smith further and understand the full situation.

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