AGGRESSIVE beggars are making life a misery for people parking in Bournemouth’s central NCP car park, drivers have claimed.

The Echo was contacted by one woman who said beggars had barricaded a colleague of hers in the lift while demanding money, while another was threatened with a needle and screwdriver last Wednesday morning.

Dorset Police have confirmed they were alerted to a man threatening another man and that, when they attended, rough sleepers were “moved on” from the car park stairwell.

The woman said: “The car park is consistently full of homeless people threatening the public.

“They have barricaded my colleague into the lift before begging for money. Chased one of my other colleagues up the ramps and threatened someone with a needle they had just used to inject and a screwdriver.

“The police are called every morning but often do not show up. We all get into work early so we can park on the ground level because we are all young women who are terrified.”

Another driver, Simon Allis from Ringwood, is one of many Nationwide employees who take advantage of the firm’s discount parking scheme with NCP.

He said: “There are often a lot of homeless people in there sleeping in front of the lift and you actually have to step over people to get to your car.

“If someone has been threatened, that wouldn’t surprise me.

“Unfortunately there don’t seem to be many cameras in there so if something did happen you wouldn’t have evidence. There are a lot of blind corners.”

As a result of these recent incidents the NCP has said it will be recruiting four extra members of staff to cover the car park in Richmond Hill.

A spokesman from the NCP said: “After the Echo informed us of a complaint of begging last week, we sent a senior member of our management team to the site meeting and greeting customers between 7am and 9.30am peak times, to ask them how they wanted us to improve the car park.

“We have been given a number of suggestions that customers would like us to address, and to this end we are recruiting four extra part time members of staff to cover this car park as well as engaging with the local police in addressing any issues of concern.

“When vagrants come in to our car park, our staff can only ask them to leave and call the police.

“For all our customers, we remain determined and committed to make our car parks as safe as possible and we will be rolling out new methods of improving this car park over the coming weeks.”

Bournemouth councillor Bob Chapman (inset) said the council had been working with police to tackle the problem of aggressive begging in the town.

“There are far too many beggars in the centre of our town and when they threaten violence to members of our community action needs to be taken,” he added.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We are aware of community concerns. We have patrols out daily targeting anti-social behaviour. and we will continue to work toward an even better and even safer Bournemouth.”