A barber is giving out free haircuts to homeless people to help build their confidence in this North East town over the Christmas period.

Al Devon, 45, known as The Night Barber, is giving out free haircuts and shaves to homeless people in Hartlepool this Monday (December 5) and the week after (December 12).

The barber from Hartlepool, who is based on Tees Street, said he was motivated to help the less fortunate having had similar experiences throughout his life.

Meanwhile, he stressed there are varying types of homelessness and urged people not to judge those who are struggling.

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Speaking on his reason for helping, Mr Devon said: "I've only been a barber for about a year, this job, in some places, you can be almost like a counselor. People tend to open up to their barber.

"When somebody gets a haircut, it might only be short-term, but it's a short-term morale booster.

"[There] was something that my Dad told me, 'the more people you go out and interact with, the more doors and opportunities open up in your life.'

"Even if it lasts a week, for me, I see that as a weeks window where that person would maybe make decisions they wouldn't have made before the haircut."

Adding to this, he said these two days would usually be his time off, but he wanted to use them as an opportunity to give something back to the community.

Mr Devon said he tried to help underprivileged families last year but this proved difficult, leaving him still wanting to do something.

Speaking on the various types of homelessness and the judgement people in this situation face, he said: "I've been in situations like this myself, and homelessness is not just about living on the streets.

"Homelessness could be living on your mate's couch, living with family [where] you don't feel comfortable being [there] and putting on people.

"People judge them and I've had people tell me when I've been giving out flyers to them, 'he's not really homeless, he's this, and he's got a house, and they're just scamming people.'

"I try to say to these people, you have to understand, there's lots of different variations of being homeless.

"You don't know what his circumstances are, you're just making an assumption about somebody and it doesn't help."

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He said people should be less quick to judge those struggling, especially as the cost of living crisis continues and warned this could result in more becoming homeless.

Adding to this, he's spoken to veterans, divorcees, and people in well-paid jobs who have ended up in this situation for various reasons from injury to addiction.

Mr Devon stressed homeless people face many dangers, and it is important to help them in whatever way possible to help them make positive progress.

He said he has been working with mental health charity Mind, as well as the local police, to get help advertising the days to the less-fortunate.

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