BAGS left unattended by homeless people on Chester’s streets will be removed by the council from next month.

The move is aimed at preventing security risks in the city centre with rough sleepers encouraged to leave their belongings at the 24/7 support hub at Hamilton House.

Rucksacks and sleeping bags left in doorways have become a common sight over recent months, prompting Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) and partner agencies to take action.

Bosses say that the message is now getting through to the homeless community with more people beginning to leave their bags at Hamilton House.

From Monday, September 2, all unattended items on the streets will be removed by the council.

The initiative is being managed by a partnership of local organisations working to solve the problem of homelessness which includes Outside In, CWaC, forfutures, CH1BID and Cheshire Police.

‘Outside In’ is a collective of charities, voluntary groups, faith groups, businesses and the public sector.

Simon Groom, Chair of Outside in, said: “We have been aware for some time that people sleeping rough often leave belongings in doorways and unsecured places across the city. These are at risk of being removed as a potential security threat, stolen or damaged.

“To protect these items and help the rough sleepers, we are pleased that our partners are now able to offer a location where rough sleepers can leave belongings safely and without risk to the city's security.”

Cllr Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth at CWaC, added: “Cheshire West and Chester Council and our partners are working hard to support rough sleepers end homelessness in our borough. This latest initiative is designed to help rough sleepers keep their belongings safe and dry, plus interacting with this service means our outreach teams can identify further ways we can support homeless people back into housing.

“We all want Chester to be a safe and secure place. Having a safe place for rough sleepers to leave belongings is a balanced approach to supporting their needs, whilst recognising the security concerns of businesses and residents in the city.

"This safe storage facility will ensure people’s belongings are protected and are not seen as a potential security threat by the police, as happens with other baggage items in public spaces.”

This is one of a number of projects the council, Outside In and partners are working on to help people sleeping rough in the borough improve their personal circumstances.

Hamilton House Assessment Hub has helped dozens of people move from the streets into accommodation since it launched in the spring.

A new model of ‘pop up’ night shelters ran successfully during the winter to provide support for people when the temperature drops.