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A HOMELESS man has been left with burn injuries after a thug set his tent alight in a busy shopping district in Cardiff.
The man was taken to hospital on Monday afternoon for treatment for a minor hand injury.
South Wales Police have said they are treating the incident as criminal damage and are making enquiries to identify the culprit.
It follows news of the death of a man on Monday evening who was sleeping rough on Cardiff Street.
Statistics revealed today show that there are more than 24,000 people in Britain who are facing Christmas sleeping rough, in tents or on public transport, according to the homelessness charity Crisis, which commissioned the study from Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University.
The research shows 12,300 people are currently sleeping rough on the streets and nearly 11,950 are spending their nights in cars, on trains, on buses or in tents.
Between 2012 and 2017, these numbers increased by 120 per cent in England and 63 per cent in Wales – but fell 6 per cent in Scotland, the study found.
The charity said homeless people almost 17 times more likely to be victims of violence and 15 times more likely to be verbally abused.
Crisis’s policy director Matt Downie said: “For anyone sleeping on the street, life can be a struggle just to survive.”
More than half of abuse and violence against rough-sleepers goes unreported to the police, mainly due to the expectation that nothing will be done, research by Crisis shows.
Mr Downie added: “In the short term, it’s vital that the victims of these disproportionately frequent attacks feel able to approach the authorities for support. But ultimately, they must also be given the dedicated help they need to leave the streets behind for good.”
Cardiff Council said members of its homelessness outreach team had accompanied the man to hospital for treatment and would continue to encourage homeless people to use shelter and hostel accommodation available in the city.
A spokeswoman for the council said it is appealing to all those who sleep out at night to come into the “wide range of accommodation” in the city and begin using the services that can help move them away from life on the streets.
On Sunday December 16, a protest will be held outside the Aneurin Bevan Statue in Queen Street from 3pm about the rising numbers of homeless people and the “continued theft of their belongings,” community group Left Outside Alone has announced.
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