Windsor’s homeless return! Rough-sleepers are back after hundreds of royal fans who camped in the hope of glimpsing Harry and Meghan return to their lives
- Rough sleepers return to the streets of Windsor one day after the royal wedding
- Homeless men and women had been encouraged to give up their sleeping bags
- A bus called in to give the homeless somewhere to stay this weekend was seized
- Video showed possessions being taken away in plastic bags by police officers
- Council leader suggested rough sleepers be removed for the Royal Wedding
Homeless people returned to the streets of Windsor on Sunday, one day after Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in the town.
Thousands of people lined the streets on Saturday, to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds leaving St George’s Chapel and making their way to Windsor Castle.
Just 24 hours after the jubilant scenes and proud flag waving, destitute people have returned to the high street.
In preparation for the big day those living on the streets were removed during security sweeps, and even had their belongings ‘voluntarily’ taken from them until and put in ‘storage’ until Monday.
Many had been encouraged to leave doorways on the main streets while royals fans came and set up camp for a good spot, days before the nuptials. Police and authorities said they were simply looking out for the people, advising them to move so they were not crushed in the wedding chaos on the streets.
Charities attempted to step in and ensure they had somewhere to stay over the weekend, with one bringing in a bus to sleep ten.
However, the bus was seized by police after it was discovered the driver did not have the correct licence.
The homeless on the streets of Windsor Castle early on Sunday morning. Images have emerged of people sleeping on benches and in bus stops just hours after the pomp and splendor of the royal wedding in Windsor
Fans of the royal couple camped out but homeless people were advised to move on. A Tory councillor suggested they should be forcibly removed
Some draped their beds with flags while another wrote how they wished the royal couple Meghan Markle and Prince Harry well
The streets of Windsor have been re-lined with homeless people after they were encouraged to move on over the weekend
Royal enthusiasts camped along the Long Walk ahead of the royal wedding ceremony of Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Women laugh as they camp for a good spot in Windsor. The royal wedding attracted thousands of well-wishers but homeless people were urged to give up their bedding until Monday for safe keeping
A woman was spotted on Sunday morning as she slept rough near to Windsor Castle. Rough sleepers in the area faced being moved out of the area after calls from a councillor
Homeless people sleep on the streets of Windsor as the royal wedding infrastructure is dismantled
Homeless people that were using the bus were ‘evicted’ after officers took control of the vehicle, alleging the driver did not have the correct licence
David Michael, founder of the Ark Project which brought the bus to Windsor Castle, said police seized it because he does not have a public service vehicle licence
Police officers escorted the white bus run by Ark Project out of view of the expectant public outside Windsor Castle to conduct the seizure on Thursday, the day of the wedding rehearsal.
David Michael, founder of the Ark Project revealed his shock to supporters over the move.
Broadcasting from the scene, Mr Michael said: ‘Homeless people [were] evicted off it.
‘They [police] are saying it is still a public service vehicle… as you can see, that is not a public service vehicle.’
Mr Michael claimed that even after arranging for a friend who did have a public service vehicle licence to arrive at the scene, police responded: ‘No, we’re seizing it.’
‘I don’t know what it is, why they don’t want it on the road,’ he added.
‘We had homeless people on it at the time they seized it, they evicted them, now the homeless people have been evicted from the bus and have nowhere to stay again.’
Mr Michael said police were demanding £1,500 to release the bus from an impound, which the charity could not afford.
Earlier Windsor’s rough sleepers were the subject of a controversial suggestion by local Conservative council leader, Simon Dudley.
Victoria Dowling and Sarah Willmott from the Ark Project, a homeless charity helping the homeless of Windsor by offering them a bed
The Ark Project, a charity which until recently was based solely in Reading, operates out of a bus which includes 10 beds and a kitchen to prepare warm food
Cllr Dudley said they should be removed for the Royal Wedding on Saturday.
The remark, made in a written letter to Thames Valley Police, proved unpopular and created significant public backlash.
Michael Longsmith, 42, who volunteers at The Ark Project, said: ‘We have been working in Windsor about six months, but the bus has only just come because we have had to offload our Reading clients to come here.
Sarah Willmott from the charity shows off the bus, which can accommodate 10 homeless people at any one time
Many do not want to accept the charity’s offer of help because they feared losing money during this weekend’s popular event, Mr Longsmith said.
Commenting on the homelessness situation in the Royal Borough, he said: ‘It’s stayed exactly the same. Nobody’s doing anything. They are still here.
‘The police won’t move them on because they know the press will be all over it, but the excuse they are using is that footfall is going to crush them.
Police clear away sleeping bags and other possessions belonging to homeless people ahead of the Royal wedding in a video obtained by MailOnline
There were also claims police told rough sleepers to move.
A video clip showed officers asking two homeless men, who had pitched up outside a Barclay’s Bank opposite Windsor Castle, to pack up their items in see-through bags which were later sealed and taken away in a police van.
They were told the bags, which were filled with bedding, books and magazines, will be kept in storage until Monday.
A woman clutching a blue sleeping bag is seen talking to police at first before she quickly moves on clutching her possessions.
Police said they were offering the homeless an opportunity to store their belongings until after the big day, because of rigorous bag searching.
The officers ask two homeless men, who had pitched up on Tuesday afternoon outside a Barclay’s Bank opposite Windsor Castle, to pack up their items in see-through bags
In the video, one of the homeless men who was made to pack away his possessions says: ‘There was big speak on the TV about the homeless being helped but when they said helped they meant removed.
‘I understand that there isn’t the resources but Children In Need and Red Nose Day have been going on for how long? Is it getting any better? No, worse.
‘Any charity – legally six per cent – that’s all they have to give. I understand they have people who they employ and stuff like that. But we help other countries when there’s enough British people who need help.’
At least six bags were removed and taken to the back of a parked police van. The men were allowed to keep small essential items, like bottles of water, with one of the officers heard telling them: ‘Right, is that all you need for the next few days?’
Thames Valley Police are working closely with The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, The Windsor Homeless Project, and local support services in order to offer support to local homeless people.
However, the homeless people have now returned. Many have questioned whether or not they will be receiving any extra help, after their plight was highlighted all around the world.
David Michael from The Ark revealed on Saturday the bus remains impounded by police.
It comes after Tory councillor Simon Dudley complained about rough sleepers in Windsor and the impact it would have on the town during the royal wedding
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