Austrian police have registered a dramatic increase in the number of beggars hanging around outside shopping centres and supermarkets in Austria.
Alongside the increasing number of beggars there has also been an increase in the numbers of complaints about people trying to collect money for supposed community initiatives.
But in many parts of Austria in order to raise charity for an official cause – people involved need to have an official accreditation.
Failure to be accredited is an offence.
Police say that public holidays notably Christmas and Easter always bring out the beggars in force and the hope that the situation might now Ease as Easter is in the past.
The police officer added that most of the beggars were actually genuine and did need the money for their own and their families needs.
But if caught they faced fines of up to 400 Euro which had to be paid immediately or alternatively they had to spend six weeks in jail. In addition any cash that they had on them which usually confiscated.
The idea was to make begging an unattractive proposition.