Bulgarians convicted of begging in Valletta

Three Bulgarian beggars conditionally discharged for a year after pleading guilty to begging in a public place, and to living a vagrant life.

Three Bulgarian street beggars were this morning conditionally discharged for a year after pleading guilty to begging in Valletta.

Ivan Borisov, 29, Genoveva Dineva, 31, and Kirana Ivanova, 61, all of Bulgaria told the court that they were not aware that begging is illegal in Malta, and also apologised for their actions.

Sources close to the investigation said that the accused were spotted begging in Valletta for at least three days. One of the women was also spotted begging in Republic Street. Another woman was holding a photograph while begging for money.

Police said that they received several complaints by residents and tourists who took exception at the begging along Republic Street and other places in Valletta.

Standing before the court this morning, the Bulgarian beggars – one of whom appeared sitting in a wheelchair - admitted to begging in a public place, and to leading an idle and vagrant life.

The court also heard that even though they cannot be deported back to Bulgaria due to EU laws, the accused will return back to Bulgaria out of their own free will.

Magistrate Audrey Demicoli conditionally discharged the accused for a year.

Inspector Daryl Borg prosecuted. Lawyer Joseph Mizzi was legal aid.

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