A luxury sports car belonging to a UK beggar was found vandalized after a video of him with it surfaced online.
The video shows Matthew Brinton, who has spent years regularly begging for money in the town center of Newquay, Cornwall, loading a sleeping bag and his border collie Hazel, often seen next to him when he begs, into his Audi TT near his usual panhandling spot, reports the Daily Mail.
Brinton, 35, claims the Audi TT, which has a base price of nearly $43,000 for 2016, was inherited from his grandmother and was stolen from him after the footage spread on social media.
A defaced car with a matching license plate was found today by Devon and Cornwall police. Photos show the black auto with a smashed windshield.
On Facebook, the video has drawn over 100 angry comments from the public, many of them accusing Brinton of being a conman.
“I’m particularly disgusted as he conned £40 from an elderly gentleman I know to ‘pay for a B&B’ for the night,” Facebook user Trudy Blair wrote. “Then he went home! The poor elderly gent was distraught that his kindness had been abused.”
Another user, Siobhan Depper, wrote: “We spent a lot of money on a nice tent that’ll keep him dry and warm. I provided copious amounts of clean blankets. Every day he was provided hot food and water – hot drinks on cold days. Wonder where that tent went. Never seen him carry it. When asked he even forgot we bought it.”
Devon and Cornwall Police said that Brinton has received death threats since the video was released. They described him as a “full-on heroin addict with mental health issues” that had spent all the money he had once inherited from a relative.
Brinton, who lives at a friend’s house, said the online response to the video has led him to consider suicide and that he has not eaten for days.
“I have not seen any of the social media posts because I do not have access to the internet, but according to the police I’ve had lots of death threats,” Brinton said.
“People are assuming too much and I’m getting a lot of abuse, which is pushing me to suicide. This has been going on for years. There is only so much someone can take.”
Dave Meredith, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said that no criminal investigation is being pursued.
“It’s a sad case, really,” Meredith said. “I’ve known him for years, but he doesn’t help himself.”