London official asks Romanian ambassador for help with Roma travelers

July 15, 2013 at 9:34 AM

LONDON, July 15 (UPI) -- A London official says the city has a problem with Roma travelers begging and setting up temporary shelters, and she asked the Romanian ambassador to help.

Nickie Aiken, a member of the Westminster borough council, asked Ion Jinga to organize a task force and help relieve the problem, which she said costs the council an estimated $753,000 each year.

At least 60 Romanian travelers -- called Roma -- are sleeping in the Marble Arch area of the city and fueling anti-social behavior in the area, The Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

The council said that of the 292 people arrested last year for begging in Westminster borough, 200 of them were Romanians.

Nearly 70 Romanian immigrants were removed from a site of "primitive shelters" pulled down in a raid in Hendon in a section of London, the newspaper said.

The country expects an influx of immigrants in 2014 when current restrictions are lifted and Romanians and Bulgarians gain employment rights. Jinga said the influx could lead to a reduction in crime in the area.

"If they have a good job and good income they don't commit crime," he said.

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