Aggressive beggars in Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush were targeted by police in an operation jointly set up with a homelessness charity.
With Mayor Boris Johnson keen to reduce the number of intimidating beggars on the streets ahead of the Olympics in 2012, police in Hammersmith and Fulham joined forces with charity Thames Reach to target the problem, which is particularly prevalent in King Street, Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush Green.
Beggars with more than 21 offences to their names were targeted, and officers arrested six people for crimes including breach of bail and theft. Representatives from Thames Reach, which runs the Hammersmith and Fulham Street Outreach Response Team (SORT), were then on hand to offer advice and support about how beggars can get their lives back on track once they leave custody.
There are usually ten people every night in the borough sleeping rough and, while emphasising begging and homelessness do not always go hand in hand, the charity says operations such as this are vital for getting the lives of people involved in "street activity" back on track.
Thames Reach's Mike Nicholas said: "Homelessness and begging can very often not be linked at all – almost all people who beg are addicted to hard drugs, like crack or heroin and are often housed.
"But they need us to offer our help and support to get back on their feet and move on with their lives.
"We can get them back in touch with their families through our London Reconnection Project and, if they are homeless, help find them somewhere to live.
"We also have a responsibility to the community – if someone is being aggressive and committing offences then we agree it's the responsibility of the police.
"Arresting someone won't end their problems but if we can target this problem together with the police it can really be of benefit."
Mr Nicholas emphasised people should not give money to beggars, adding: "If you give money to beggars you are more than likely giving money to drug dealers. Instead, give money to charities that can really help tackle the problem."
Sergeant Jayme Johnson, leading the operation, said: "Some people can be extremely aggressive and intrusive to the street scene. It is a bit of a problem in the area and we will make arrests but it's also about engaging with them and seeing if they want to accept help."
If you are worried that someone is homeless call Thames Reach on 0870 3833333.