People are being asked not to give to beggars in a new campaign titled "Your Help May Harm".

The Hamilton Central Business Association says people felt "intimidated and uncomfortable" when approached for money on the street and business owners and operators felt frustrated when customers were "harassed for money".

Research locally and internationally showed the majority of people who were begging in public spaces used the donations to support serious addictions.

Sandy Turner, general manager of HCBA said: "This is not about denying support for people who find themselves in hardship, in fact it is about supporting these people to get the correct help.

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"We are very lucky in Hamilton to have amazing assistance available to people living in hardship. There is a range of social service agencies including faith based, non -government and government providing support and service.

"The campaign was aimed at educating the public about the challenges with giving money and the best ways to support people to get the appropriate help.

"The campaign responded to feedback from recent central city surveys and from HCBA members about begging in public spaces."

Posters and information will be distributed around the central city and will be rolled out city wide over the next few months.