Police are cracking down on the growing numbers of beggars in Southport town centre.

Recently three men and one woman have been fined at Sefton Magistrates Court for begging in Southport.

The four, all of whom have addresses in the town, were summoned to appear at the court on October 2 but none of them appeared.

However, the magistrates agreed to hear their cases in their absence.

Harvey Stallard, 46, of Sefton Street, who plead guilty by post, was said to have been sitting on Lord Street on September 4, with a cup in front of him containing a small amount of loose change.

Prosecutor Andrew Page said that when confronted by a police officer, he said: “I am doing it to get by.”

Mr Page said that Stallard had been in court in August for the same offence and also had a conviction for possession of class A drugs on record. In his letter to the court Stallard said that he was claiming Employ- ment Support Allowance.

The magistrates fined him £50 and waiving costs, ordered that he pay a £32 victim sur- charge.

Also stopped on September 4 was Jose Branco, 38, of King Street, who Mr Page said was begging on Lord Street near to Water- stones book shop. The police officer who reported him recognised him as a frequent beggar in the town, Mr Page said, though he’d said to the officer, “I do not do it all the time.”