A NEW scheme for people to help Bolton's homeless is being explored by Bolton Council following the introduction of new bylaws to tackle begging.

Signs warning people about the new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which came into force last year ­— and could land offenders with a£100 fine ­— are being put up in Bolton town centre.

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They warn that beggars, those engaging in anti-social behaviour, taking drugs and drinking alcohol in the streets are banned from the centre under a new Public Space Protection Order, which came into force last month.

And as part of the new policy the council is looking at ways in which people can donate money to help those who are genuinely in need rather.

Red circular signs reflect that cyclists, skateboarders and scooters are banned from the pedestrian areas of the town centre.

The large board states clearly that begging as defined by people placing themselves in a position to beg or solicit money, is a criminal offence.

The wording states: “Offences carry a maximum penalty upon conviction of a fine not exceeding £1,000.

“Offences many also be dealt with by a fixed penalty notices”.

However, council bosses have stressed that genuine vulnerable people will be helped and the order targets “aggressive” or “career beggars”.

The tough new rules are being enforced by a team of trained officers.

A Bolton Council spokesman said:"Installing these signs in the town centre is part of the legal process for setting up a Public Spaces Protection Order.

"Since the PSPO came into place we’ve had really good feedback from both business owners and the public.

"Comments have praised the new officers patrolling the centre and people have said they feel ‘the town centre is a much nicer place to be’.

"The PSPO is about tackling antisocial, and intimidating behaviour such as aggressive begging.Our enforcement officers are adopting a common sense approach and fines will only ever be issued as a last resort.

"We want to be very clear that the PSPO is not about criminalising people who are sleeping rough. Through our partnership with our excellent homelessness charities we will continue to ensure appropriate support is given to the genuinely vulnerable.

“Our partners are also looking at alternative options for giving money so that the public can be assured that their kind donations will go to people in genuine need.

“We will also continue to work with the outreach team from our drug and alcohol service Achieve, to identify those in need of support to overcome addiction and substance abuse issues.