A FORMAL complaint could be lodged against police community support officers (PCSOs) who dismantled and ruined a homeless man’s tent.

The three-man tent cost £100 and was donated to vagrant Justin Hicks, 35, by members of We Are Witney.

Mr Hicks had been sleeping in the tent behind the Windrush Leisure Centre, in Witan Way, for a week.

The leisure centre contacted police and two PCSOs removed the tent on Tuesday.

The majority of the tent was found by the leisure centre’s bins, but some poles were found in the bin itself.

Thames Valley Police admitted yesterday that clearing material from private property was not a police matter.

Richard MacKenzie, of We Are Witney, said: “We are asking for these two community support officers to be prosecuted for theft and criminal damage.

“What they have done is despicable.”

He said a formal complaint will be made in the next week, after a replacement tent had been pitched for Mr Hicks.

Mr Hicks, who is from Witney, said: “I do not feel hatred, but I am very upset.

“Instead of asking me to move it, they came and smashed it to smithereens. It is inexcusable.”

He said the tent’s fabric had been torn and the poles bent. His bible and his medication are still missing.

Mr Hicks spent Wednesday night behind a toilet block in The Leys, which he said was a “dreadful environment”.

He became homeless in October after his relationship with his former partner, who he was living with, broke down.

Inspector Helen Roberts, of Witney police, said: “The police received a call from the Windrush Leisure Centre on Tuesday regarding a tent that had been pitched on their land behind the centre for a week and the rubbish accumulating around it.

“There were no personal belongings or occupier with the tent and enquiries to find an owner proved negative so it was dismantled and placed at the location for the owner to collect later.”

Police spokesman Adam Fisher said: “In hindsight this does not really appear to be a police issue.”