Reports of people sleeping rough rose sharply during lockdown in the South West.

Figures from the homelessness charity Streetlink show the number of alerts sent by members of the public between April to June this year increased by 22 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The charity operates a service where users send alerts about anyone sleeping on the streets to local outreach and support teams.

Matt Harrison, director of StreetLink, said: “StreetLink saw an increase in alerts about people sleeping rough during lockdown. We believe this was down to a number of reasons, including the concern that those on the streets themselves felt as a result of the pandemic and the fact that many of the day services providing them with basic facilities and advice had to close.

"The alerts received from members of the public point to particular concern for people sleeping rough during this public health crisis, and we cannot rule out the fact that new people were continuing to arrive on the streets at this time.

"These alerts added to the intelligence of local councils, homelessness services and their partners as to where people were sleeping rough, enabling them to offer support to these individuals as they worked to bring ‘Everyone In’ to emergency accommodation.”