Concerns raised over group sleeping rough in St John’s Church graveyard in Margate

Concerns have been raised about people sleeping rough in the graveyard

A neighbour of St John’s Church in Margate has raised concerns about people sleeping rough in the graveyard.

Marci Cerqueti says although people understand the situation of being homeless there has been the need to complain about “graves being used as toilets” and the “awful mess” that is discarded in the grounds, including drink cans and drug paraphernalia.

Marci 62, says she usually enjoys walking in the church grounds with her service dog Madee but has become upset by antisocial behaviour, people taking drugs, mess and also, separately, a lack of bins which means people are leaving rubbish on the ground.

Marci and her service dog Madee often walk through the church grounds

She said: “No-one is doing anything about it. There are around 200 of us who are really concerned about this but we just get told ‘it’s the church’ and then ‘it’s the council’ and ‘it’s the police’ and it just goes round and round without the problem being solved. I even spoke to the council CEO’s assistant and was told it was something they would look into immediately but nothing has happened.”

Marci says there are currently four people sleeping in a tent in the graveyard. She believes the group has been offered assistance by the council’s homelessness team RISE but have turned it down.

She says residents also want to know why the dog waste and rubbish bins have been removed, adding: “St Johns Church was built in the 11 century and has survived Hitler and his Luftwaffe but seems to be losing to Thanet council and budget cuts.”

‘Alleviate the situation’

A spokesperson for St John’s Church said they do as much as possible to help those who find themselves homeless and so use the church as a place of refuge.

They added: “The problems caused by rough sleeping in the graveyard in St John’s has been an ongoing issue for a number of years.

“We do our best to work with all relevant agencies  – and in particular the RISE project .We do our best to alleviate the situation and sympathise with both our neighbours and those who are homeless.

“We report any drug taking and anti-social behaviour we witness to the police, and work closely with our PCSO, making our CCTV footage available to them.

“RISE are aware of a young couple presently in the churchyard and are doing everything they can to find them suitable accommodation.”

St John’s is one of the venues that would host the Thanet Winter Shelter project with beds and hot meals before a full-time venue was found during the pandemic.

‘Regular visits’

A Thanet council spokesperson added: “Thanet District Council’s RISE team provides outreach support to anyone identified as sleeping rough. The team regularly visits the individuals sleeping in St John’s Churchyard but doesn’t have the enforcement powers to move them on.

“Sometimes, people sleeping rough are not ready or are unwilling to engage with support services. The RISE team continues with their efforts to help people move into suitable and affordable accommodation.

“The council’s cemetery team manages the upkeep of the grounds and boundaries at St John’s Church, in partnership with the church and others. The cemetery grounds are not owned by Thanet District Council.”

Housing and homelessness advice:

Shelter England

Citizens Advice

Thanet council Housing Team 01843 577277


    • and sometimes as stated in this article, they are addicts who leave dirty needles and rubbish and dedicate on graves ..exactly how do you think they pay for these drugs? maybe when your house gets burgled or your nan gets mugged you will think differently

        • It’d be a hate crime if you allowed your bigotry to over ride your logical processing and spouted out of context claptrap on an article in no way associated with gypsies, actually.

    • People who go “camping” dont use grave stones to dry dirty bedding, nor do they squat and defecate on grave stones.

  1. Looking forward to the apologist councillor Helen Whitehead , saying how hard the housing team work. Yawn yawn. Here is a real problem for you to resolve snap snap Helen. Less talk more action.

    • Nora’s comment: “Looking forward to the apologist councillor Helen Whitehead , saying how hard the housing team work. Yawn yawn. Here is a real problem for you to resolve snap snap Helen. Less talk more action”.

      Funny Nora. I didn’t see you standing for election. Its easy to mudsling and grandstand. Not as easy to actually apply the courage of your convictions.

  2. I’ve seen the work of the cemetery team at the crematorium. The Garden of Rest grass cutting between rows of headstones looks as though a Challenger Tank did it. No respect of the plots.

  3. They are just dossers self made victims expecting everyone to give them something for nothing. They find the money for cigarettes / cider / drugs. They should be all sent to
    Rwandan. They are totally useless. I used to feel sorry for them until one day I gave one £5 and he thanked me by snatching my purse out of my hand. He tipped the money into his pocket and threw the purse back at me, he took about £60 cash then cursed me for only giving him £5. Never again.

    • Blame the churches-their feeding them encourages them to congregate around this churchyard-I can remember them there in the 1990’s causing trouble-so it is not remotely new, same with St Paul’s in Cliftonville, they also congregate at the side bit of the Catholic Church in Charlotte Square just round the corner for their food parcels & they used to congregate on the seats down the end of that road & then over the road heading to Mill Lane.

      Every so often the police/council have a little sweep & move them on-pretty quiet for a few years & then they move back.

  4. Do they ‘Do’ drink and drugs because they are homeless….or…..are they homeless because the ‘Do’ drink and drugs?

  5. A very sad situation, that these people have lost all respect for the dead. Plus, a country that can’t deal with them.

    • Britain has gone down the pan with hopeless politicians on both sides.
      The people camping in the churchyard are but a symptom of what is ahead for us all.
      We can not even defend our shoreline so what hope is there for the rest of us?
      Judge not that ye be judged.

    • Paul, they not only have they no respect for the dead, they have no respect for themselves! These people are dangerous, they obtain their money thieving mostly, and living off the state! The other day as I was returning from lunch on my Mobility Scooter along Margate Road, Ramsgate, 2 skinny, down and outs approached me and asked for 60p! Whaat! As it happened I didn’t have any change, and even if I had I wouldn’t have given it to them! I donate hundreds of pounds monthly to charities that deserve it, but not to people who should be able to work for it!

        • In fact I have 4 pensions Ms Pink AKA Peter Checksfield, the biggest is from Magnox, previously the CEGB when I was an engineer in the nuclear industry. I have more than I need, so give it to charities, mostly animal and refugees, as I was once an RSPCA Trustee, and a child refugee after the Germans destroyed our road, and blew the roof off our house! I know what hard work is about, but these dossers do not!

      • “2 skinny, down and outs approached me and asked for 60p! Whaat! As it happened I didn’t have any change, and even if I had I wouldn’t have given it to them! I”

        Do you want a medal for your virtue signalling?

        • Well Anon, it sickens me when I see otherwise healthy young people begging, there are people out there with severe disabilities, who work, so there is no excuse not to! The only thing I would give a beggar and that is a kick!

  6. Would you want somebody drunk in charge of a loaded gun near you? I don’t think the combat grunts do either.

  7. Shows you how observant the police and government employees are, it isn’t just that location it’s many parks, not in plain site and other church yards. However instead of condemning these people having to live rough, how about creating places for them to go were it’s safe, warm and dry. I know, government and local government should stop making cut backs on these services. Morons

      • Indeed – work houses, poor houses, institutions and asylums have all been done away with as they were considered too Victorian, draconian, Dickensian, or whatever.

        Instead we have folks sleeping in tents in churchyards.

        We really have not progressed much in the last two centuries have we ?

        • It all started to go wrong after they stopped flogging, a few strokes of the Birch wouldn’t go amiss for the crime of vagrancy! How about bringing back transportation to the colony’s, perhaps Suella Bravermann the Home Secretary should be approached?

          • Ooops, forgot, Braverman has already thought of it, and is trying to transport asylum seekers to a failed African state! Just had a message from the Refugee Council saying three quarters of people arriving to the UK on small boats are granted Asylum!

        • Giving homeless food and a roof over their heads in return for work is more “extremist” than letting them sleep in cardboard boxes in graveyards or walking past them shivering in empty shop doorways?

          I know which one I would prefer if I were homeless. How about you, man?

        • “We can not even defend our shoreline so what hope is there for the rest of us?”

          you said this earlier, then said this…

          “Grow up, man. Trying to shock people with extremist views is so puerile.”

          Are you ok, Robby?

  8. Shame that the second coming seems to have been delayed a bit as I’m sure we could do with Jesus rustling up a few portions of fish and chips for the Isle’s needy.

  9. Many homeless people are trapped in a vicious circle. To secure a job they need an address and to obtain accommodation they need a job.
    Also, quite a lot of homeless people are former military and their situation has been linked to trauma (PTSD).
    Surely a bit of compassion sometimes isn’t too much to ask?

  10. I blame evil Thatcher she shut down all the places that were there to support these people she called it .”Care in the community” what a joke more like scare in the community. I hated Thatcher more than anything else.

      • Wonder who they can have running them? I mean Thatcher & Eggwina giving the keys of Broadmoor to Uncle Jimmy can never be topped. Stuart Hall? Gary Glitter? Jonathan King?

          • I think that’s a bit unfair on Russell Brand. He hasn’t even been charged with anything. It is a stitch up by some people in high places who do not like the content of his material. I appreciate mavericks like Brand but some do not.

      • Last labour gov made huge strides towards this, as it goes…

        Robert, Russel Brand is under two investigations by the met, and one by LAPD.

    • Jimmy Savile was a pioneering DJ. As well as being one of the very first people to have two turntables in clubs, he was the first “zany” DJ/presenter, inspiring Kenny Everett, Noel Edmonds, Dave Lee Travis and just about everyone else – before him, it was al David Jacobs, Brian Matthew and Pete Murray, with their clipped BBC tones.

      Russell Brand has never made me even titter. I just find him brash, very obviously drugged, and talent-free.

      They’re both vile perverts though.

      As is Schofield.

      • “They’re both vile perverts though.”

        Probably about as pervy as a middle aged, greying photographer asking barely legal local goth girls to pose nude in Arlington House/Barnes carparks…

  11. Contemporary popular music never interested me. It is all rubbish to me, as was Jimmy Savile and his “now then, now then”. DJs are not talented. They are often predatory.

  12. I like both Bernard Manning and Russell Brand. Polar opposites but both speak their mind. They are trying to hound Brand simply because they do not like what he says. Ditto Manning.
    Lefty liberal women hate Brand because they imagine his “toxic masculinity”. They prefer homosexuals and “trans”.

  13. I am a “lefty liberal ” woman and Russell Brand’s toxic masculinity does not seem like a figment of anybody’s imagination.

  14. I’m a “Lefty liberal” woman and Russell Brand’s toxic masculinity doesn’t seem like a figment of anyone’s imagination.

      • A definition of “Toxic Masculinity”:
        “The concept of toxic masculinity is used in academic and media discussions to refer to those aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are socially destructive, such as misogyny, homophobia and violent domination. These traits are considered “toxic” due in part to their promotion of violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence. Socialization of boys sometimes also normalizes violence, such as in the saying “boys will be boys” about bullying and aggression”

        • The adjective “toxic” is used to undermine the natural state of masculinity within society.
          All part of the lefty liberal gender war on men. The latest attacks on Russell Brand are a manifestation of this.

      • “Masculinity is the natural condition of men.”

        Yes, but toxic masculinity isn’t. That’s the whole point of it being toxic. You also seem bereft of the self awareness required to see yourself as others do, when you’re supporting a bloke under investigation by the met for sex crimes, given victims have actually come forward since the revelation…

        What do you think that says about you, as a “masculine” bloke that isn’t willing to play the role of protector of the women in his life, eh?

        • I honestly can’t understand why so many people are defending brand, far more than they did Cliff Richard, Jimmy Tarbuck, Paul Gambucinni and The Tremeloes.

          • Because they like him and admire him. It is very simple. He is also outrageous which is a positive quality. He shocks and offends which is both healthy and welcomed. Russell Brand is a symbol of free speech which includes the possibility of offending someone. So what? You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

          • My point is, those other people mentioned were only accused by one, anonymous, person, but few jumped to their defence. Several people have come forward with accusations against Brand, yet HE is being treated as the victim.

  15. Cemeteries in Ramsgate have homeless people in also. Blame the council they should allocate a space for them to pick their tents, provide water and toilets after all its not like it’s a new problem especially here in Thanet.

  16. Marci Cerqueti you don’t need to walk through the church grounds, maybe find a new route that feels safer and more enjoyable?
    Hats off to the church for allowing this as I’m pretty sure none of the dead will complain.
    This helps to keep them away from busy streets and the tourists or everyone would be complaining about them hanging around and sleeping rough there.
    The homeless situation is getting worse in the UK every day and will not get any better as more asylum seekers arrive by the thousands weekly, with greedy landlords pricing housing out of reach and far beyond the housing benefit cap for anyone that is struggling.
    The government will send £billions in overseas aid/funding even to India that has just landed on the moon FFS and to fund global wars but if our own are in dire straights or have mental issues forget it.

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