The Home Office is using homelessness charities to get sensitive personal data that could see migrant rough sleepers being deported, a campaign group has warned.

Human rights group Liberty are warning that under the scheme front line workers would ask homeless people for their personal information, and share that information with the Home Office without their consent.

The Observer reported that the scheme, which is still in a trial phase, comes despite an earlier plan to deport EU rough sleepers that was defeated 18 months ago when the High Court deemed it unlawful and discriminatory.

The Rough Sleeper Support Service, which is part of a strategy announced in August 2018, is not set up as an enforcement tool.

It was designed to provide immigration information to local authorities to help them assess rough sleepers' status and entitlements.

It was also seen as a way to help local authorities prioritise support work for outstanding cases.

But it's undertsood the Home Office may consider action on a case-by-case basis.

Now the Liberty human rights group, which said it obtained Home Office emails from December 2018 to May 2019 under a Freedom of Information Act request, fears that homeless charities could be used to target migrant rough sleepers for immigration enforcement.

Gracie Bradley, Liberty's policy and campaigns manager, described it as a "renewed attempt to make homeless outreach workers complicit in the hostile environment" and it is "beyond contempt".

She added: ""We urge all charities who have been approached to refuse to take part, and are heartened by those who have done so already."

A Home Office spokesman said: "No one should ever have to sleep on the streets. The Home Office has an important role to play in tackling homelessness, supporting some of the most vulnerable in our society off the streets.

"The Rough Sleeping Support Service was established last year to help resolve the immigration status of non-UK nationals sleeping rough, either granting lawful status or providing documentation.

"This enables individuals to access support or assists them in leaving the UK where this is appropriate.

"The service prioritises support work on outstanding cases and helps to resolve status issues."

Source: The Mirror