Homeless wheelchair man told not to camp in Stevenage

A homeless man in a wheelchair camped out by the six hills in Stevenage has been moved on by police for breaking a byelaw.

Fifty-year-old Gary Jackman, who is paraplegic and doubly incontinent, has been living in a tent without food under a tree beside the Bronze Age barrows since Monday.

Originally from Devon, he arrived in the town by jumping the train from Manchester where he said he was beaten up in the street. He has been homeless for around eight years.

Sitting in an underpass near the burial mounds, where he had been since a Police Community Support Officer told him he could not pitch a tent in public in the town, he said: “What harm am I doing to anybody? I am just trying to keep myself alive. I’ve got no money. No food. I’ve got a cracking headache.”

He said councils do accommodate him in hostels for up to eight weeks, but he is always told they can do nothing more to help him because he has no family or work connections.

“I have travelled all over the country trying to get housed. But you just get kicked in the teeth.”

He added that when he is placed in a hostel he has been robbed and does not like being around addicts.

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“I don’t take drugs. I don’t drink. When I am in a hostel I am surrounded by drug addicts and drunks. I’ve still got some standards. I shouldn’t have to stay with drug addicts and alcoholics all the time.”

Mr Jackman who said he was abandoned as a baby and suffered abuse in a boys home, added that he fears the worst this winter after the severe cold last year.

“I don’t know how I’m going to survive. Last winter I stayed in an old abandoned farm building. It was bitterly cold. I got hyperthermia.

“I’m a British citizen but I’m not a British citizen. If I was a refugee I would get a place. I’m not being racist – that’s the God’s honest truth.

“Where I’m going to go from here God only knows. I’m at my wits end. I just don’t care anymore.”