Police were in St Albans city centre on February 20 as part of an on-going operation to address rough sleeping, anti-social behaviour, street drinking and thefts.

Officers carried out the targeted action from 10am to 3pm with partners from St Albans District Council.

As part of this, rough sleepers were spoken to and given a letter which lists the local support services available to them.

During the patrols officers arrested a suspected shoplifter who has subsequently been charged. As a result of the operation a a knife was taken off the streets.

They also responded to reports of a homeless man acting anti-socially outside the Entertainer toy shop. He was given verbal and written warnings about his behaviour, which included a community protection warning with the following conditions:

1. Not to sit or lie in the doorways or directly in front of restaurants, shops etc in St Albans

2. Not to leave personal belongings including bedding unattended on any land

3. Not to be rude or abusive to any member of the public or to police officers and police staff in Hertfordshire

If this type of behaviour continues further action can be taken.

Enquiries with partner agencies managed to secure the man a bed at a night shelter but unfortunately he declined this offer.

St Albans Safer Neighbourhood Inspector Andy Wiseman said: “We work with our partners to ensure that those who are rough sleeping in St Albans are offered the appropriate support to help them turn their lives around.

“However, as part of this we must also tackle any anti-social behaviour.

“Further action, where required, can include the use of dispersal powers, arrest and the person being summoned to court.”

Councillor Salih Gaygusuz, responsible for business and the community for St Albans District Council, said: “This was a successful and valuable exercise that responded to public concern about the presence of a number of rough sleepers as well as begging and other anti-social behaviour.

“We’ll continue to encourage rough sleepers to take up the offers of help available to them while also advising them of their responsibilities to others such as local businesses and landowners."

Dariusz Kumpicki, aged 32, of no fixed address, has been charged with theft from a shop and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place. He is due to appear at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on March 22.