How we approach some of the issues arising from rough sleeping

Abandoned belongings and storage

Abandoned belongings

Sometimes, belongings are abandoned on public land, including sleeping bags, clothes and other personal possessions. We will only remove these items if they appear obviously abandoned, there is a public health risk, they are causing an obstruction or if the owner tells us they no longer want them.

If belongings are left in the street and are not being cared for – for instance, they are strewn around rather than placed together – or are placed against a bin, we will treat them as litter and will dispose of them. We also treat soaked and ruined bedding as litter.

We will always remove sharps and dispose of them safely. Last year, we disposed of more than 5,000 needles that were discarded in public places.

You can report discarded needles and syringes on our website.


Unless there is an immediate public health risk or items are identified as litter, we will monitor abandoned items for 48 hours before removing them. We will store them for five working days before disposing of them, and notify the police and outreach teams of their location.