Aaron Smith, 27, who has been homeless for a year, said he found Rob’s body.

I was his only friend. We bed down together under the shutters,” he said.

“I was all he had. He was ill and had throat cancer.

“The bad weather didn’t help at all and it is picking us off one by one.

“When I found him he had one thin sleeping bag on.

Everyone has him wrong.

“He was a lovely bloke but because he couldn’t speak properly people had him wrong. He had throat cancer

“He was a good and loyal friend.”

Following the news of the death, a sign placed next to the Halifax bank was left in tribute to the man.

A tribute to Rob, a homeless man who was suffering from throat cancer, found dead in Chelmsford (Image: Essex Live/BPM Media)

Brian McGovern, Who runs the Rucksack Project, said: “This is something that the council were warned about.

“I did approach the council when we had a cold spell about opening up fire stations for them to sleep in.” Rob Saggs, executive director of the homeless charity CHESS said: “It’s devastating to hear that somebody has died on our streets in Chelmsford.

“I’m just devastated and quite shocked. What’s really sad about it is that we have been running a winter project that somebody like this could have been accessing, where it’s warm and comfy. It’s horrendous.”

A spokesperson for Chelmsford City Council said: “CHESS have confirmed that the winter project has extended their service until the end of March. They have just 10 bed  spaces at a local Church which rough sleepers can access each night. Sanctus is open for rough to get hot food and drink throughout the day.”  

Shortly after Rob’s death, tributes came in for the man described as a “good and loyal friend”.

Rob’s death comes after one of the coldest nights of the year when the temperature in the Essex city dipped to a low of -1.7C at 4am.

It’s reported that his death is not being treated as suspicious. It should, however, be treated as an absolutely shameful disgrace. Rob had throat cancer and was sleeping rough. Behind the shutters of an Argos shop. No-one would choose to live and die like this.

Ben was discharged from hospital following treatment for pneumonia just over a week before he died, to sleep in a tent.

There is something very wrong with a society that leaves ill people without adequate shelter in sub zero temperatures. People are apparently so shocked that this is happening right under their noses.

However, it’s far too late to be shocked after the event of someone’s death

Over the last seven years we have witnessed the return of absolute poverty in the UK because of Conservative welfare policies, austerity, low wages and insecure work. Absolute poverty is when people can’t afford to meet one or more of their basic survival needs as they don’t have an adequate income to eat, keep warm or afford shelter.

Welfare was originally calculated to meet people’s basic needs and to ensure that citizens did not have to live in absolute poverty. We were a society that believed that everyone has a right to life. However, since the Conservative government’s welfare ‘reforms’, the amount of support people have does not alleviate hardship nor does it adequately ensure that people can meet their basic survival needs. Furthermore, the punitive welfare sanction regime often leaves people without any income at all.

In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, people are dying because they have no home and because there is not an adequate safety net in place to help them when they so desperately need it.