Bogus beggars from organised crime groups are deceiving members of the public in Hailsham and Uckfield out of their cash.
That is according to police, who have reported a rise in incidents in these two towns.
Officers have launched a crackdown on the behaviour which they say is happening in both high streets, and involve people who may not be genuinely homeless and have refused assistance from the local authorities.
Sergeant Kara Tombling said, “All those encountered so far have been of Romanian origin. It would seem they do not live locally but are dropped off and picked up, using hand-written notices asking for money”
“We have established there are no concerns around modern slavery and that previously they may have been operating in towns in Mid Sussex.”
She said, “Officers have used translators to ensure suspects are fully aware of help available in genuine cases while issuing Community Protection Warnings (CPWs) to those who don’t meet that criteria.”
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said genuine problems linked to homelessness are dealt with respectfully and sympathetically, with those concerned being ‘signposted’ to agencies able to offer help, shelter and support.
CPWs are issued under Section 43 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 and require recipients not to approach people and ask them for money, food or other donations in Sussex.
They must not sit or loiter at the entrance or exit of any commercial or business premises, hold out their hands to beg, or return to Wealden district with the intention of begging.
Failure to comply means an offender risks a fixed penalty of £100 or else being arrested.
Further information about anti-social behaviour can be found on the Sussex Police website.