Search

Video shows homeless man found sleeping in bin in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:15 24 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:19 24 February 2020

A rough sleeper was found climbing out of a bin in Norwich in the early hours of the morning on February 17, 2019. Picture: Biffa

A rough sleeper was found climbing out of a bin in Norwich in the early hours of the morning on February 17, 2019. Picture: Biffa

Biffa

A video showing a rough sleeper climbing out of a bin in Norwich has prompted calls for urgent action to prevent homeless deaths.

A rough sleeper was found climbing out of a bin in Norwich in the early hours of the morning on February 17, 2019. Picture: BiffaA rough sleeper was found climbing out of a bin in Norwich in the early hours of the morning on February 17, 2019. Picture: Biffa

The video, filmed by waste company Biffa, shows a man disturbed from his sleep by an approaching bin lorry at 4.25am on Monday, February 17.

As the lorry reverses towards the waste container, the lid is seen flapping up and down before a rough sleeper emerges from it and walks away.

MORE: 'If you can't give us anything please just acknowledge us' - former rough sleeper in Norwich's plea

On Monday - a week after the Norwich video was filmed - a body was found in the back of a bin lorry in Camberwell, south London.

Officers were called at 5.35am to reports of a dead man in the back of an industrial vehicle in Bethwin Road.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the death was being treated as unexplained.

No details about the deceased were given and inquires continue.

An image on social media showed several London Ambulance Service vehicles surrounding a red waste truck, with bags of rubbish spilled onto the ground at its rear.

The number of near misses and rough sleepers being crushed to death in bin lorries has prompted a countrywide study on the issue.

But Norwich-based homeless charity St Martins Housing Trust said there has been a reduction of nearly 50pc in the number of rough sleepers in the city since 2016.

Pathways Norwich, a partnership of seven local organisations, was launched in July 2018 to help people sleeping on the streets to access accommodation and support.

St Martins chief executive Jan Sheldon said: "Pathways Norwich works hard to engage with people who are rough sleeping to ensure that they are offered the specialist support that they need.

Biffa has released a video of a rough sleeper climbing out of a bin container in Norwich. Picture: BiffaBiffa has released a video of a rough sleeper climbing out of a bin container in Norwich. Picture: Biffa

"One person sleeping rough is one person too many and along with our stakeholders and partners we are committed to providing information, specialist support and accommodation."

A report by Biffa, the Open University and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management found the risk of deaths by people sleeping in bins has increased since 2014, based on the 70pc increase of rough sleepers in the last six years.

The report, released on Monday, found 35pc of waste companies across the UK found people sleeping in bins in the past year, compared to 21pc in 2014.

The waste company said the issue is not just a winter problem and that people were discovered in bins all year round.

Dr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust. Picture: St Martin'sDr Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust. Picture: St Martin's

In the report, Petra Salva, of homeless charity St Mungo's, said: "Terrible fatalities occur when people seek refuge in bins.

"We think it's unacceptable that people are forced to sleep rough in the first place but almost unthinkable that people are so desperate that they will seek refuge in bin containers."

Some measures being taken by waste companies to prevent homeless deaths include locking containers, placing danger stickers on bins and contacting homeless charities when a person is found.

Michael Topham, chief executive of Biffa, said: "Urgent action is required now to raise awareness of the dangers of seeking shelter in bins.

Biffa has released a video of a rough sleeper climbing out of a bin container in Norwich. Picture: BiffaBiffa has released a video of a rough sleeper climbing out of a bin container in Norwich. Picture: Biffa

"This new research highlights the need not only for the waste industry to take more responsibility for its own practices, but crucially for it to work with its customers to help tackle the issue.

"We are committed to leading this approach to promote policies and procedures for widespread adoption to prevent further tragedies.

"We hope this report highlights the issues that we all need to address and acts as a call to action."

According to the Health and Safety Executive, there have been seven fatalities of members of the public in bins between 2013 and 2018, including homeless people.

Police activity in Bethwin Road, Camberwell, south London, where a man's body was found in the back of a bin lorry in the early hours of Monday, February 24. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA WirePolice activity in Bethwin Road, Camberwell, south London, where a man's body was found in the back of a bin lorry in the early hours of Monday, February 24. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The news comes after the announcement Norwich City Council will be awarded governmental funding of £869,534 in the next financial year to help its response to homelessness.

The council said it will invest the money in its Pathways service, as well as towards the employment of a mental health nurse, a winter shelter post and additional hostel beds.

It is part of the government's £112m Rough Sleeping Initiative, with the county to receive £1.4m in total.

Norwich City Council declined to comment on the video.

Police activity in Bethwin Road, Camberwell, south London, where a man's body was found in the back of a bin lorry in the early hours of Monday, February 24. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA WirePolice activity in Bethwin Road, Camberwell, south London, where a man's body was found in the back of a bin lorry in the early hours of Monday, February 24. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

MORE: More than £1.4m of government cash to help rough sleepers - but how much will your council get?

If you value what this gives you, please consider supporting our work. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Norwich Evening News