Smithfield, N.C. — Johnston County authorities said Wednesday that they are stepping up enforcement of the county's new panhandling regulations.
The county Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance in January requiring people to get a panhandling permit through the sheriff's office. People applying for a permit must undergo a criminal background check and have a photo identification.
Authorities said fewer than 10 people have obtained permits since then.
Deputies have handed out copies of the ordinance to beggars over the past three months, but Sheriff Steve Bizzell said the time has come to start citing and fining people for violations.