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Shop bosses deny staff 'hosed down' homeless people outside Wilkinson store in St George's Street, Canterbury

Claims that shop staff hosed down homeless people who were sleeping next to the Wilkinson store in Canterbury have been denied by the company.

Police were called to the area following a complaint from a passer-by and found that paving at the side of the shop in Burgate Lane had been doused in water.

The business says it needed to clean the area for hygiene reasons because it had become dirty and was being used as a toilet.

Wilkinsons in Canterbury
Wilkinsons in Canterbury

But Tammy-Lee Connor who watched the incident on Thursday night, claimed on Facebook that the hosepipe was being used to disperse the homeless, who were "being treated like animals”.

Her comments were shared more than 3,000 times and prompted numerous responses in support of the vagrants with some people describing the store’s actions as “disgraceful”.

But Wilkinson spokesman Peter Woodall rejected the allegations.

He said: “I think whoever saw the incident misunderstood what was happening.

"Our night team was attempting to wash away the debris to make the doorway safe for staff before the store opened in the morning..." - Peter Woodall

"We’ve looked into this and reviewed CCTV footage. We have regular locals using our staff entrance overnight and we are on good terms with them.

"On the night they were joined by a larger number of individuals and a number of empty alcohol bottles were broken and some individuals urinated against the door.

"Our night team was attempting to wash away the debris to make the doorway safe for staff before the store opened in the morning.

"At no time was any attempt made to use the hose pipe against any individual. When one person attempted to enter the store, police were called and the individuals moved on.”

Kent police spokesman Alice Hemming said: “We were called to Burgate Lane after a member of public raised a concern in a man was reportedly hosing down an area of the street near a group of people sleeping in the area.

“Patrols attended to assess the situation and ensure nobody was injured. No criminal offences were disclosed to officers. The man with the hose was spoken to regarding his behaviour.

“Anybody with information regarding the incident can contact Kent Police, quoting incident reference 18-1644.”

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