Street cleaner sacked after ‘aggressive’ rant at Stratford Centre homeless

PUBLISHED: 12:14 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:44 26 May 2017

Stratford shopping centre

Stratford shopping centre


A street cleaner has been sacked from a council contract after calling homeless people in the Stratford Centre “a disgrace and the lowest of the low”.

The outburst came as charity worker Frank Charles handed out breakfast food to the borough’s homeless population with his wife on Friday May 5.

At 7.15am they were approached by a street cleaner who complained about litter and said: “You and people like you encourage them to make a mess which I and we have to clear up.”

“They are a disgrace and the lowest of the low”.

Frank said he was shocked by the outburst: “I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

“He actually came over to me and then started putting the homeless people down and that’s not acceptable.”

Frank, who was homeless himself when he was 16, tried to explain that homelessness is a bad situation that could happen to anyone.

The cleaner refused to give Frank his name, instead just pointing at his orange tabard that said he was a London Borough of Newham employee, and as he walked away, he shouted over his shoulder: “If that was me, I would rather kill myself.”

The entire tirade took place in front of several homeless people.

Frank said he was “furious” after the “verbally aggressive” rant: “That’s not acceptable in this day and age. He was actually shouting it out.”

“Everybody is entitled to their own views but you can’t shout it out at the most vulnerable of society.”

He added: “It’s sad to know that in our borough there are people like that. How do they treat the homeless when people are not around?”

After the early-morning altercation, Frank contacted the council confirmed that the man was an employee, and arranged for him to apologise to the couple over the phone.

A spokeswoman said: “This is a deeply regrettable incident and we want to make clear that the actions of this individual in no way reflect the views of Newham Council. We apologise to Mr Charles and his wife for any distress caused.

“The person was an agency worker employed to provide cleaning services on behalf of the council. As a result of an investigation into the incident we have terminated his contract with the council with immediate effect.”

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