Police say it's not unusual for them to prosecute beggars who are asking for money but don't need it.

The comment comes after a Hastings beggar was convicted of fraud for begging for food and shelter - while on a benefit and living in a house.

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Hastings beggar convicted of fraud

Frank Lovich was charged with 16 nuisance offences, including fraud, after a member of the public, who knew his true background, reported him to police.

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Police say the prolific beggar was pretending to be homeless, while sitting in the Bay City Plaza mall in Hastings with a sign begging for money for food and shelter.

They say he was receiving $380 a week from Work and Income and has a home in Hastings.

A police spokeswoman says this case is not a reflection of a targeted campaign against begging.

The Ministry of Social Development says it relies on beneficiaries to be honest when they're earning a side income from begging.

A representative for the Ministry says it aims to provide people with the assistance they require, based on their financial position.

But the ministry says it also relies on clients to be honest about their income, including income from legal or illegal begging.

Lovich's lawyer, Antony Willis, says it would be unfair to Lovich to comment until he is sentenced in April.