Friday, September 21, 2007

Homeless artist threatened with ASBO, police "have no record"

A homeless street artist whose pastel drawings have captured the imagination of people living around Finchley Road says he has been threatened with an Asbo.

Rowland Matthews, 33, who has been living on the streets for three years, also says that his pastels have been confiscated by police.

He has been painting scenes from the Biblical story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt on the pavement for the past month.

But Mr Matthews says he was recently approached by police officers as he slept beside his paintings.

He said: “They told me I had to leave and not come back if I wanted to avoid getting an Asbo.”

And Mr Matthews said he was woken up last month by police as he slept near his sketches.

He said: “There’s horrible graffiti all over the walls and I’m lying next to my lovely art – but it’s my art they wash away.”

Mr Matthews is a former member of the Royal Horse Artillery.

A Camden police spokesman said: “We are unable to comment, as we cannot find any record of these events on our system.”

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