A FLASH mob of around 80 to 100 people staged a sudden sleep-in on Bournemouth square.

They lay down – some in pyjamas – for five minutes to raise awareness of St Paul’s Nightshelter, which helps 500 individuals a year.

Curious shoppers and visitors took pictures at 12.30pm yesterday.

Bournemouth Churches Housing Association (BCHA) organised the event, with permission from the council, to raise funds for the shelter and to promote its SleepSafe campaign.

Richard Hawkins, 46, who lived rough for two to three years and who now lives in Penn Hill, Poole, said: “Homeless people aren’t the terrible people that people think they are.

“The night shelter does a brilliant job.”

Lorna Trent, BCHA’s fundraising manager, took part in her pyjamas and said: “We thought if we launch the campaign in a hotel, who would come?

“Here we can engage with people.”

Sophie Baiton, 13, was one of the 25 schoolgirls from Glenmoor School who took part ahead of a choir competition at the BIC.

She said: “We wanted to join in because we thought it would be fun and by helping people you feel a buzz.”