THAMES Valley Police (TVP) is warning people to be cautious when donating to beggars as they may be part of an ‘organised crime group’.

The force’s south Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse branch reported that people – mainly male but sometimes female – have been presenting as homeless and begging for money with a sign in front of them.

The Thame neighbourhood policing team has seen these people begging in the past few weeks in Greyhound Walk next to Biagio the Jewellers, Sainsbury’s and Lightfoots Solicitors.

However, police say these individuals are part of a ‘well-known organised crime group throughout the UK’.

Police urged people to donate money to a ‘reputable charity’ if they wished to support the homeless.

The force said: “If you encounter a person presenting themselves as homeless and begging, please consider this may not be genuine and contact the police on 101 or report it online through our website.”