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'Homeless' HSBC beggar exposed as fraudster living in Surbiton flat
A ‘homeless’ man who begged outside HSBC in Surbiton for years has been exposed as a fraudster living in a flat on the Alpha Road estate and receiving benefits.
Christopher Turner, 51, who lives in King Charles Road, conned generous passers-by in the town centre with hand-drawn cardboard signs and a bedraggled dog.
One sign, decorated with a Christian cross and a star of David, said: “Homeless. Please help me in this time of need. Thank you and God bless u all.”
Turner, who was born on Christmas Eve in 1961, was convicted last Wednesday at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court after admitting begging and fraud.
Turner's signs were seized by police
When the Surrey Comet visited Turner at his first-floor flat he admitted it was not his first offence.
He said his benefits had been stopped for some time but had been sorted out since his arrest.
He declined to comment further.
Posters on local web forum surbiton.com have been warning for years Turner was not genuinely homeless.
As long as three years ago one person posted: “When he packs up at the end of each day and goes home he hides his fake luggage behind the estate agents near the bins and slides his homeless signs behind the green telecoms cabinet next to HSBC.”
Another said six weeks ago: “He was having an argument with what appeared to be a girlfriend when he said ‘You can stop complaining, I am the one who has to go out to work all day’.”
He was ordered to pay a total of £113 in fines and costs, which will be deducted from his benefits.
Turner lives in this building on the Alpha Road estate
Turner, who was arrested in October, has several previous convictions for similar offences.
He was convicted in September and December 2010 at Kingston Magistrates’ Court for begging in St James’ Road and Victoria Road, and in August 2011 at Wimbledon for begging in Fife Road, Kingston.
Sergeant Dave Williams from Kingston police said: “This man has a home. He receives housing and other financial assistance to support his living.
“There are genuine homeless people sleeping rough in Kingston and the police work with Kingston Council and Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness to support those in true need.”
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