Rough sleepers accused of fighting and having sex in Peterborough arcade must leave, judge rules

A rough sleeper in St Peter's Arcade
A rough sleeper in St Peter's Arcade
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Two rough sleepers must vacate a Peterborough shopping parade where they have been accused of fighting, taking drugs and having sex in public, a top judge has ruled.

Peterborough City Council sought a High Court order against Charlie White and Albertina Boardean, who are said to have been regularly sleeping rough at St Peter's Arcade, in Bridge Street, since September last year.

The couple's 'unreasonable conduct' is having a 'detrimental effect' on residents, businesses and their customers, claimed Wayne Beglan, for the council.

The barrister said complaints included 'fighting, taking drugs, selling drugs, sexual intercourse in public, swearing at local residents, aggressive begging, urinating and defecating in public areas'.

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 has '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 6pm on Wednesday (April 25).

And, warning them that the court order has "teeth", the judge said the couple could be arrested if they breach it.

The interim injunction will remain in place until 4pm on April 22 2019, unless the couple apply to have it lifted before then.

Mr White and Ms Boardean were neither present, nor legally represented, at today's hearing.