Nearly 60 people found sleeping rough in Cornwal in one night say St Petroc's
Nearly 60 people were found sleeping rough or in makeshift shelters in Cornwall in one night, according to a campaigning charity.
As severe rain and gusting winds of up to 70 miles per hour are set to hit Cornwall again many of those rough sleepers may still be out there.
The figure comes from the St Petroc's Society, whose staff and volunteers counted 59 people when walking footpaths across Cornwall, from Bude to Lizard, Saltash 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.
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 have 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 on man he personally found sleeping on a farm near Bude – had managed to find places off the beaten track to rest their heads.
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.
"It was quite frightening, it was pitch black, and we only had a small torch.
"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."
He said the man was later given a better place to sleep on the farm.
St Petroc's Society, formed in 1986, offers support to homeless people in Cornwall.