59 people sleeping rough in Cornwall
A CHARITY found 59 people sleeping rough or in makeshift shelters in Cornwall on one night.
Staff and volunteers from the St Petroc's Society counted the people when walking footpaths across Cornwall, from Bude to Penzance.
They were found between 8pm and the following morning when teams set off on a range of routes along coastal paths and fields.
In November, Truro-based St Petroc's said they estimated there were about 50 people sleeping rough each night in Cornwall.
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Details of the count of homeless people sleeping rough were released as the charity launched its winter 24-hour open door policy.
Steve Ellis, from St Petroc's, said they tried to cover as much of the county as possible in their search.
The organisation is working hard to highlight the problem of rough sleeping and has been working with Cornwall Council to get a clear picture of its scale, but they admitted the exact number of rough sleepers was still unclear.
He explained many, like one man he found sleeping on a farm near Bude, had managed to find places off the beaten track.
He said: "He was in a disused farm building with a collapsed roof. When we first arrived, we heard rustling which we thought was vermin.
"The farmer had allowed him to use the building and was hoping to feed him. If it hadn't been for that, I'm not sure what state he would have been in.
"In 2013, even for people who work in this field, I'm not sure if I'm embarrassed or ashamed – just as a human being – that this was the only shelter he could find."