International ‘Beggar Gangs’ Are Using Children to Blackmail Department Store Shoppers

child beggars

An ‘organized gang’ of beggars are reportedly encouraging their children to target shoppers and commuters in wealthy neighborhoods.

In London, Police officers were called to Paddington Railway Station after the large group were spotted harassing members of the public. The gang of women were also using their children to approach shoppers outside the luxury department store Harrod’s, begging for money.

female beggars and children

female beggars and children

Later in the evening, they were stopped by British Transport Police inside Paddington station having spent some three hours begging. An onlooker, who asked not to be named, claimed three women – believed to be Romanian – were stopped by officers before another fled the station with the children.

He said the ‘organized gang’ targeted wealthy shoppers, with children thought to be as young as three holding their hands out for money.

female beggars and children

female beggars and children

The witness said one group was made up of five women and four children, and ‘knew their demographic’, while other groups were operating around other areas in London on the same evening.

He said: ‘They are professionals who make a lot of money. I have been watching them for a while now.  They take the children out late at night and encourage them to beg, targeting wealthy male Muslim shoppers coming out of Harrods.’

‘It is disgusting, these children should be in bed at that time of night.’

female beggars and children

British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police have been approached for comment.

Similar groups have been spotted in Paris and other European cities. Be careful of these people should you travel abroad.

This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.