Waste disposal staff have been warned to routinely check large rubbish bins and skips before emptying them to ensure homeless people sleeping inside them are not inadvertently thrown away and crushed.
The guidance follows the first formal survey to gauge the extent of the problem. It found that 38% of waste companies had found homeless people in their bins in the last 12 months. On five occasions a person was only discovered once tipped into a waste truck, and in one case the person was found dead at the waste depot.
The crackdown is a response to rising homelessness and signs that more people are being forced to spend the night on the streets. Official rough sleeper figures to be released at the end of February are expected to show a year-on-year increase.
The survey was commissioned following an inquest last year into the death of rough sleeper Ranjit Singh, 48, of Smethwick in the West Midlands, whose body was discovered in a pile of rubbish on the sorting conveyor belt at a recycling plant. A postmortem found that Singh, who regularly slept in bins, was crushed by the plant's metal-clawed crane, sustaining severe injuries including a broken spine and crushed pelvis.
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