TOWN centre business owners whose trade is being blighted by an influx of homeless people have urged enforcement teams to act.

Market Street, which currently has a large tent housing several people, has come under scrutiny this week due to the goings-on.

Owner of Grille Steakhouse, Simon Sangha - who has been on Market Street for almost 20 years - told the Chronicle the current situation feels like a ‘circus’ and is driving custom away.

“There’s currently a tent directly outside the restaurant - it has been tied to the railings and is probably accommodating four or five people, if not more,” he said.

“I’ve tried to be diplomatic as I’m a really good person and try to be kind to everyone.

“But when these people are behaving aggressively towards myself, my staff and our valued customers, that isn’t okay.

“I’ve been called every name under the sun by these people, just for politely asking them to move.

“If these same people were drug dealing, blasting loud music at night and being aggressive elsewhere in the town centre they would have 100 per cent been moved along.

“Because it’s happening round here, nobody seems to be interested.

“It’s affecting the business - we have customers ringing up to complain and it’s frustrating because there is literally nothing more I can do.”

Cathy’s Beauty Hut, also on Market Street - which has only been open for a year - is another business to have been impacted.

Owner Cathy Godley added: “It’s really affecting us - they all congregate on this street, often coming and go during the day but they always come back.

“When you are a newly-opened business, you want as much custom as you can get.

“I’ve spent thousands to get this place how I wanted it - and now I’ve got a bunch of people loitering outside dealing drugs, getting drunk first thing in the morning, playing really loud music and generally just being completely disrespectful.

“They’ll have a drink and then proceed to smash their bottles up - I can hear it all the time.

“It’s not fair - I’ve been reporting it since I moved in a year ago, yet it seems no-one cares in the slightest.

“I’ve had customers ask if I’m closed when the doors have been locked - I don’t feel safe enough to leave them open, especially when I’m in on my own.”

Coun Wendy Cain, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, confirmed reports had been made.

She added: “We are talking to the homeless man and trying to provide support.

“He has recently returned to Barnsley, and we have offered him two different options for temporary accommodation, which he has chosen not to accept.

“We’ll continue offering our support until he feels ready to move forward.

“We always work closely with people experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness to provide them with the help and support they need.

“If you come across anyone rough sleeping, begging or facing difficult situations on the streets, please reach out to us.

“We also appreciate the worries of local businesses affected by this situation, and we’re working closely with the police to positively resolve this situation.”