Homeless people across the country are risking their lives by sleeping in bins, according to a refuse firm.
The warning has come after refuse collectors reported finding an increasing amount of people seeking refuge in bins who could accidentally be harmed or killed if the commercial waste disposal units get picked up.
Talking to the Big Issue, Mark Hall of Business Waste said: “It’s terrifying for our staff to find somebody lurking inside on their early morning rounds, and they constantly worry if they’ve ever accidentally killed somebody.
“It’s not just the homeless,” he added. “There are also drunks sleeping off a session on their way home, and even drug addicts. There is a genuine danger that the person inside might be too soundly asleep when the refuse truck comes.”
Although the company did not provided a total figure, Hall is “certain” there at least several hundred people sleeping in bins on any given night. In 2016, commercial waste company Biffa said it had discovered 175 people over the course of a single year, only a small proportion of the number of rough sleepers who may be using the bins as makeshift dwellings.
One bin operator said early morning discoveries are now typical in his trade. “We have a rough sleeper jump out of a bin on us at least a couple of times a week. It’s got to the point that you know which bins to expect them to leap out from. It’s really sad and a bit unsettling.”
His colleague Janie added: “It always gives me a heart attack when it happens. One of these days we’re gonna miss one, and I don’t like to think about that.”