VIDEO: Man arrested for assault in town centre homeless camp

A man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of assault in the homeless camp which is growing in the town centre.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Police were called to Union Place at 2.40pm on Thursday (May 11) to a report of an assault.

“One man was taken to hospital with a facial injury. A 47-year-old from Worthing man was arrested on suspicion of assault and attempted robbery. He has been released under investigation.

“The suspect and victim are believed to be known to each other.

“Anyone with information or saw what happened is asked to contact police quoting serial 846 of 11/05.”

Over the course of several months, a camp of homeless people has taken over Union Place. The derelict site is private land which remains undeveloped as Worthing Borough Council continues to strike a deal with the landowner.

Union Place on Thursday, May 11

Union Place on Thursday, May 11

To date, at least ten tents and several makeshift lean-to’s fashioned out of tarpaulins and metal poles have been erected on the land, with shopping trolleys and bin bags dotted around.

This is the latest bought of antisocial behaviour from the camp, with other fights having previously been witnessed.

Inspector Allan Lowe said: “We are aware of a small number of homeless people living on a derelict site in Union Place, Worthing.

“We are monitoring the situation at the location. It forms part of our daily patrols and Police Community Support Officers are paying passing attention.

“The local authority are also aware as they have a role in dealing with homelessness alongside housing providers.

“Clearly, anyone who is part of the street community is likely to be vulnerable and agencies are also very aware of that. If anyone has any specific concerns about activity there, please report it to us. You can email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk, or call 101, or visit Worthing police station.”

Change Real Estate, which owns the land, said it is in ‘ongoing discussion’ with Worthing Borough Council about developing the land, and added that Brexit has not affected progress.

Regarding the homeless population, a spokesman said: “We’re aware of the current situation on site and we’re taking action to address it via our managing agents.”

A council spokesman said: “Adur & Worthing Councils and its partners will always try to work with at-risk individuals to try to prevent or resolve homelessness.

“We can give people advice about their situation and explore any solutions there may be to try to resolve their situation.

“The council is only obliged to provide accommodation for people who are homeless if they also have a priority need for accommodation.”