Staff at Corpus Christi have warned students not to be misled by a female beggar pretending to be pregnant near the college.
On Friday last week a cautionary email was sent out to students by the college, warning them not to engage with the beggar, who was said to be using “aggressive” and “underhand” methods to con members of the public out of money.
The woman has repeatedly been sighted “patrolling” Merton Street. Preying predominantly upon elderly ladies, she was recently reported by college staff to have collected £25 in ten minutes.
The college condemned her behaviour as “underhand”, calling it “covert begging”, and has taken such a strong view towards her treatment of unaware strangers that it has even reported the ongoing problem to Thames Valley Police.
A recent sighting of the woman asking students for money as they entered Corpus on Friday prompted the college’s action.
The woman has also been seen on King Edward Street as well as the High Street. Second-year Corpus student Daniel Shearer described a personal encounter with the beggar. He said: “The story generally changes each time. I’ve known several versions of it where she’s either been abused by her boyfriend or is pregnant, as she has been saying recently.”’
He noted she was usually unsuccessful with students, but pointed out: “She can be quite convincing and also quite forward, being sometimes aggressive in the manner in which she asks for money.”
A second-year English student at Christchurch was another victim of this trick: “I was scammed by her successfully once when alone on Pembroke Street, and she attempted another two cons on me when I was with friends. She used a different story each time and at first seemed convincingly desperate for a bus fare to the JR for a pre-natal checkup.”
She observed: “She did look pregnant but I’ve seen her over the course of a year now, and it seems the baby never came. After I was initially scammed I called her up on being a con person, and she became hostile and aggressive.”