A BOURNEMOUTH councillor has threatened a Tesco store with a licence review unless it takes action to stop aggressive beggars from intimidating customers on its premises.

Cllr David Kelsey, who represents East Cliff and Springbourne and is vice chair of the council’s licensing board, made the announcement at a public meeting where the issue of aggressive begging was raised.

Customers of Tesco Express in Holdenhurst Road have reported being approached by a beggar while using the store’s cashpoint, he said.

“I have been into Tesco and threatened them with a licence review if they don’t stop allowing beggars to be there,” Cllr Kelsey told a meeting of the Springbourne and East Cliff Residents’ group last week.

“As far as I’m concerned, allowing beggars to sit there is not upholding one of the licensing objectives of public order. If it continues, I will order a licence review and they run the risk of losing their licence.”

When the Daily Echo contacted Tesco for a response, a spokesperson said: “We are not aware of any incidents of customers being harassed whilst using the cashpoint outside our Holdenhurst Road Express store. If any customers are accosted when using the machine we would urge them to tell our colleagues within the store.”

Matthew King, community enforcement and anti-social behaviour manager for Bournemouth council, moved to reassure residents at the meeting of the action the council has taken to address aggressive begging in the town.

One person was served with a community protection notice, which aims to prevent anti-social behaviour.

“That is what we class as anti-social behaviour, intimidation right by the cashpoint,” he said.

“The council has a huge amount of resources to help genuine rough sleepers and those who aggressively beg. That’s why we encourage people to report these things.”

“There are certainly people who beg out there who aren’t homeless, but there are plenty who are. We have to consider all the vulnerabilities. It’s a very difficult issue to deal with,” he added.