Women forced to beg on the streets after being "abandoned" by society have said that people are more generous in the run-up to Crhistmas.
A mum-of-two, aged 31, and a 49-year-old woman – who requested to be anonymous – said they can make up to £80 an hour, Leeds Live reports.
The younger woman, who has been on-and-off the streets for the past three years, admitted she has been using drugs recent after tragically suffering a relapse.
She said she has returned to “a dark place mentally” but says Christmas time often brings out a kind, giving spirit in people.
Tearing up, she said: “At Christmas time, I’ve always made a lot of money. I don’t how much – about £80 an hour, a stupid amount.
The women were sat at the top of Briggate, outside Tesco Express
Samuel Port/Leeds Live)
"I remember sitting at Christmas markets and getting a lot of money. It feels wrong really because people feel sorry for you and you get food and you get money, but it’s just a s*** situation.”
A woman beside her admitted to sharing similar thoughts.
The 49-year-old, who used to work in a fish and chip shop and as a cleaner, said: “You can get some beautiful people out there that will come up and go ‘Right look, we know you’re homeless’ and they’ll give you bits-and-bats, they’ll help you out. They’re really kind.
“But you can get lots of moody people as well that just look at you like you’re dirt.”
The woman, although admits to being an alcoholic, maintains she is not a drug user.
She says she feels "abandoned" by society, stating not enough support is offered to women in her position.
The women agree that there is a community feel between beggars in Leeds.
The 31-year-old said people are strangely drawn to returning to life on the streets as there’s a sense of “freedom”.
She said: “Being homeless, people are drawn to it, you’re free from bills and you feel ‘free’ from that. Because you know everyone else on the street, you feel like you’re part of some sort of community."