A vicar has been branded un-Christian for evicting a group of homeless people who slept in tents in a churchyard.
More than a dozen rough sleepers set up a makeshift camp in the grounds of All Saints Church in Northampton three months ago.
Several members of the group were moved on, but now the church has applied for an eviction notice to force them to leave.
But homeless people and residents have accused the church of being heavy handed.
Rough sleeper Andy Boddington said: I have admired the way the church supported those staying in the church.
This has been an exemplar of how we can help those who are both down and out.
But All Saints Church now wants to evict those in its encampment. That is unacceptable.
They say the rough sleepers have refused council help so they must be evicted. That shows an utter lack of understanding of why people become rough sleepers.
Most of the people I have worked with who live outdoors cannot engage with officialdom.
If they could do that, they wouldnt be sleeping on a bench or in a tent.
Most rough sleepers have significant mental health issues. To evict them from a churchyard where they feel at home and secure is cruel.
The notice was served last Thursday, with the support of other agencies including Northampton Borough Council, the Hope Centre and police.
Resident Susan Graham, 50, said: This is profoundly un-Christian.