Activist pulls up lane's anti-homeless 'spikes'

CONTROVERSIAL spiked barriers installed in a Glasgow lane to deter rough sleepers have been pulled up by vigilantes.

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Activists removed the spikes from the lane after we revealed the development yesterday
Activists removed the spikes from the lane after we revealed the development yesterday

The barriers, placed over warm air vents at the back of a vacant building in St Vincent Lane, were ripped out following adverse reactions from both Glasgow City Council and Glasgow City Mission.

Homeless brothers Gerald and Paul told how they had sheltered at the site but were forced out by the barriers.

The barriers were removed yesterday morning by activist Gary, 46, from the South Side, who said it had been "pretty easy" to dislodge them using a 21mm sprocket wrench.

He posted a photograph on Twitter showing the removed barriers piled on top of bins, with the message "this is how Glasgow's citizens react to the homeless spikes".

He said he had been angered by spikes in London and had to act when something similar was "on my doorstep". He and three others took action after branding the barriers "horrifying" in an anonymous statement.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said they had not received any complaints about their removal.

It is not known who put the barriers in place. Earlier, the city council sent letters to the building's 'owner/ occupier' while they made efforts to trace them, telling them they had seven days to remove them.

A council spokesman confirmed that they had been told of the latest development.

Graham Steven, of the Glasgow City Mission, said they were "delighted" the spikes had been removed.

He said: "We would like to thank the members of the public for yet again standing up for our city's most vulnerable. Their anger and disgust at the spikes have in no doubt encouraged swift removal."

Mr Steven added that the charity's chief executive had been in talks with the council about how best to deal with homelessness. He urged anyone with concerns about homelessness to contact the mission or the city council.

Gerald, 29, one of the homeless twin brothers who had previously slept in the lane, found the spikes after returning from a friend's house in Maryhill. He said his friend believed they may have been installed to "make the city look a bit better for the Commonwealth Games".

Reverend John Matthews, who chairs the Glasgow Simon Community, a homelessness charity, said they could also offer help for employers concerned about their staff and buildings.

He said: "We are also trying to spread the word to the public that if they were concerned about homelessness, they can call a freephone number - 0800 027 7466 - and the Simon Team will follow up urgently, addressing the problem without involving the police."

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