Charities confirm desperate migrants resort to cooking rodents
Rough sleepers are eating rats
Homelessness charities say some Eastern European rough sleepers are so desperate for food they are eating rats.
Two major charities confirmed that staff members had seen homeless people cooking the rodents.
Jeremy Swain, chief executive of Thames Reach, said the charity had seen eastern Europeans in extreme poverty eating the vermin. He said it was ‘almost opportunistic’, because ‘the rats are there’.
Howard Sinclair, chief executive of homelessness charity Broadway, agreed and confirmed his teams had seen people eating rats in Brent. ‘If people are sleeping rough and have no recourse to public funds and public sector support they are in a desperate state,’ he said.
Broadway’s annual figures state 3,673 people slept rough on London’s streets in 2009/10. The government made decisions on homeless applications for 393 European migrants between January and March this year.
A spokesperson for the Foods Standards Agency saying: ‘A particular concern about eating rats would be their unknown provenance - you can’t tell where they’ve been or what diseases or chemicals they might have been exposed to or picked up.’
The news reopened discussion about the benefits of soup runs. The issue has proved divisive, with some people arguing that they enable rough sleepers to stay on the streets.
Mr Sinclair said: ‘The answer is not more soup runs, the answer is, where we can, support people off the streets.’
But Alastair Murray from charity Housing Justice said: ‘If that’s how desperate people are to get something to eat, that means what the churches are doing [soup runs] is really important