Aggressive Beggar / 'Travelling Poet' on Overground

Hi all,

I don’t think this has been raised before but I wanted to bring awareness to @SgtBiddle and other members about a homeless chap that is often travelling on the evening over ground (Usually on the Highbury & Islington and West Croydon line). I have had the displeasure of his company on a number of occasions but after my last encounter with him, I thought its worth letting people know here.

He starts he speech by explaining that he’s homeless and a travelling poet and then proceeds to provide a poem to the carriage.
The issue is when he’s finished, he gets very aggressive to those who do not give him any money and is unfortunately particularly aggressive towards women.
I have found whatever you say to him, unless you give him money he either insults or makes a lewd remark towards you.
Unfortunately, not much we can do as commuters but hopefully you will be prepared if you see him after reading this.


There was one of these “poets” on the southbound overground last night, about 8:30pm. It’d been a long day in the office and I wasn’t in the mood for poetry at all.

I made a point of getting out of my seat and moving to another carriage when he popped up and started his speech.

As always, irritating to see other people sponsoring this anti-social and illegal begging.

Advice for reporting begging on the Overground

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If you text BTP they are usually pretty swift to respond. The last time I did this they were too late to catch him but it’s definitely worth reporting… and yes, he’s extremely unpleasant


This guy is very very intimidating, he seems to be getting more and more aggressive every time I see him.


Reporting him to the transport Police every time must give them the opportunity to catch him eventually. He obviously has some mental issues, but the right people need to be dealing with him don’t they?

Dear all,

Please bring this to the attention of colleagues at the British Transport Police as this is happening on their trains or stations.



I hope this is the link to the BTP Text number details…



Another reason why One-Person-Operated trains is not a good idea.


Having never seen a guard on either the overground or Southern I couldn’t say.


I am so pleased (?) that I’m not the only one who feels this way. Until fairly recently I worked in Hoxton & would see this guy most days, some times I gave him money. On one such time when I did so, I only had 30 or so pence on me, he threw it back at me shouting I obviously need it more than him. Having not worked there for a while the first time I saw him again in a couple of months was satursday just gone; he did his poetry and asked for money, everyone was ignoring him, I hate ignoring people and I said to him “sorry but I have no cash on me.” He then got very agressive and start questioning aggressively if I was “really sorry.” At which point I said something along the lines of “I don’t have cash but tbh I find you to be very agressive and you’ve thrown money back at me in the past.” He then shouted “oh been agressive have i” whilst lurching forward and doing a mock punch toward me (nowhere near close to connecting the punch). I told him to leave. I was still several stops from my destination and during the journey he walked past me twice more mimicking and saying aomething patronising.
Tonight, at approx 8.30, I heard someone else apologise and him once again have a go at them.
I’m sure I don’t fully appreciate how touch it is for the homeless in London and truly, I hate the thought of ignoring people but this guy is getting too much now. Thanks for the tip @SgtBiddle I will be contacting BTP.


Thanks @Joey_H

I have to say that in the last few weeks, outside of rush hour, I can’t remember having been on the Overground without seeing at least one person begging on every train.


I know the guy-he used to hang out around Shorditch and became really aggressive towards myself and a group of friends when we were stood talking and he butted in and started his spiel on us-when we ignored him and didn’t give him money he really became downright abusive and arguementative.
He now travels on the overground in the evenings and yes… same spiel and he does become antagonistic when not given money-I’m a woman he did it to me.
Never noticed if he became more aggressive to females or that he’s generally a nasty bloke.
I’m sick and tired having finished a 12 hour day encountering these beggars on the train when all I want to do is get home from a long day at work


I reported this to BTP today and they have recorded. If others feel intimated by this guy then might I suggest you complain too, I simply text 61016 and then agreed to be called.

There are two flourescent-clad “TravelSafe” officers on the Southbound Overground this evening - and not a single beggar in sight. :+1:


Then the answer is simple. Everyone pop a hivis jacket in your bag - cycling shops sell cheap ones. If you hear a beggar further down the train, pop on your hivis. Job done. :wink:


After tonight’s train meltdown, just what I wanted to see - another beggar doing the rounds on our Overground train.

When two people opposite reached for their wallets I said (out loud) “stop sponsoring this,” prompting a sharp nudge from my other half.

But I feel something had to be said. Everyone who hands over money is encouraging this illegal behaviour, which has now got totally out of hand.



The advice on the forum is not to confront.

Text BTP on their well publicised number.

Or wait until you reach a station and press the button to report events to the driver. Most importantly, do not snipe. Remember the person being subjected to this behaviour is more a victim than you are.

You will potentially offer better protection to passengers who are more vulnerable than you by following these recommendations.

Alternatively develop a louder Scots accent (preferably Glaswegian) when you elect to confront offenders - it has a remarkably disproportionate effect. I speak from experience.





Further to this, you can also email (was just informed via a response to a text to 61016). That way you can include photos.