Dorset

Professor Green films 'anti-homeless' bench bar removal

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Media captionProfessor Green removes Bournemouth's 'anti-homeless' bench bars

Rapper Professor Green has filmed a video showing the removal of an "anti-homeless" bar fitted to a public bench.

The musician had branded the devices, in Bournemouth, an attempt to make homelessness "invisible".

Footage posted on his Instagram account shows a man replacing one of the bars with a larger one to turn the bench into a "homeless shelter"

Dorset Police said officers were called to the town centre but "no offences were identified".

Bournemouth council said it was disappointed Green had declined an invite to speak with officials.

Image copyright Instagram/Professor Green
Image caption Professor Green looked on as designer Max McMurdo was shown removing the "anti-homeless" bars

In the video, which was posted live on Thursday afternoon, Green said: "We are taking something really negative and making something more positive."

His friend, designer Max McMurdo, is then seen unscrewing the hooped device and replacing it with a larger one which it is explained can be used to support tarpaulin to give people lying on the bench cover at night.

Mr McMurdo told the BBC the original bar was later restored to the bench and the change was made for a video set to go on social media on Friday.

Green, real name Stephen Manderson, had said in a tweet he planned to visit Bournemouth after posting criticism of the bench bars online.

The rapper, who fronted a BBC Three documentary investigating rising levels of youth homelessness, said: "What's the message here? 'Hey you poor sods with no safety net ... Cause you won't have the 'comfort' of this bench to sleep on! Ha!'

"Again, nothing done to tackle the problem, just something to make it more invisible so we can pretend it isn't happening."

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Media captionBars were fitted to the benches to deter people from lying on them

In a statement Bournemouth Borough Council said: "We're disappointed that musician Professor Green declined to meet our Housing Services Team whilst on his visit to Bournemouth today.

"We would have welcomed the opportunity to speak to him about the multi-agency work that goes on to prevent homelessness, and the support we provide to rough sleepers."

It said that the 28 devices, which it spent £3,650 installing, were put on the benches last year "in response to multiple complaints made by residents, visitors and businesses".

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