Police grabbed sleeping bags and food parcels in raids on homeless people in East London, it has been reported.
The Ilford Recorder reported that the belongings, including donations from the public and personal possessions, were bundled into a police van while a group of eight people sheltered for the night in Ilford.
Charities said the powers that be in the affluent borough did not want to see homeless people on the streets and attacked the "crass" clampdown.
Police chiefs said the raids were carried out to “reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers”.
One of the men targeted, Adam Jaskowiak, said he pleaded with officers to be able to keep hold of his possessions, and one of the men was reported to be in his 60s.
Jaskowiak told The Recorder: “They were just taking the sleeping bags and chucking out everything. I asked to keep it and the food, but they said ‘no’.
“I just grabbed as many of my things as possible and put them into a bag and ran.”
Rita Chadha, chief executive of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London, told The Huffington Post UK: "This operation came totally out of the blue - no voluntary agencies were used at all.
"We have got no idea why such a punitive enforcement action was taken in such a crass way."
Chadha said cuts to police budgets meant police did not have the resources to work with the community on such operations.
She added: "This is a very conservative borough, with a small 'c', and it is usually considered fairly affluent.
"[homelessness] is something that doesn't sit right with the local powers that be."
Ilford Ch Insp John Fish told the Recorder: “The public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers, this includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”
Essex Police tweeted a map to show the matter was not their responsibility
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