Birmingham Spiderman
The Birmingham Spiderman has been handing out food dressed as the Marvel superhero since February@BrumSpirderman

If you saw someone dressed as Spider-Man on the streets of Birmingham late at night, you would probably think he was drunk and on a stag do. And that is not far from the truth when in February the city gained a new superhero, the Birmingham Spider-Man.

But for the past five weeks the Birmingham Spider-Man has been using his superhero powers not to defeat nemeses Doctor Octopus, Electro, Green Goblin but to feed, water and clothe the city's homeless – digging into his own Spandex pockets to pay for snacks.

But when Birmingham's very own Spidey first started his charity quest, most people thought he was another fancy dressed fool.

"When I first started, a lot of people thought I was drunk," he said. "But after people started becoming aware of what the Birmingham Spider-Man was, the support from the public was amazing.

The anonymous 20-year-old barman has been handing out sandwiches, biscuits and T-shirts in recent weeks and become something of a local celebrity for his selfless benevolence. And in true superhero fashion, he always finds a way to change into his costume before anyone is able to identify him.

"It's a bit like barman by day, Spiderman by night," he added. "I got changed in alleyways before after work. But no one knows who I am. Not my family, not my friends. I was anonymous before and I am still now."

When I first started, a lot of people thought I was drunk

"I first got involved when I went to a food drive in Birmingham that I had seen advertised on Facebook.

"I grew up in a village outside of Birmingham so the problems weren't really in the forefront of my mind. I had never seen homelessness first hand.

"But I was completely shocked when I went to the food drive. There were 150 people there and I didn't expect anywhere near that. I thought there would 10."

Birmingham Spiderman
How do the two Spidermen match up?Luis Ouriach, IBT

Homelessness - the facts

Homelessness in the UK
More than 2,700 people slept rough on any one night in the UK in 2014Getty

Government statistics show 2,714 people slept rough in England on any one night during 2014 - a 55% rise on 2010.

Local agencies report 6,508 people slept rough in London alone throughout 2013-14 , a 77% rise on 2010 (this has more than doubled over six years).

In England, 111,960 households applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance in 2013-14, a 26% rise since 2009-10.

Just over 52,000 were accepted as homeless and in "priority need" - a 31% rise since 2009-10.

Source: www.crisis.org.uk

Before he roamed the streets as the masked marvel, Spidey volunteered helping the vulnerable with Albert Street Project, a homeless charity in the city, but decided to suit up to put a smile on the faces of the homeless, a faceless community he believes have been "depersonalised".

He points to figures that say 34% of homeless people are under the age of 24 and 80% of those living on the streets use alcohol or drugs.

But instead of fearing potentially dangerous street drinkers and drug users, Spider-Man said there needed to be a new approach.

Why not invest that in someone's life, to help someone instead

"There needs to be a culture change," he added. "People walk past a homeless person and do not look twice. If it was their friend who was homeless, they would.

"So when people see Spider-Man giving them food they take notice. A trip to the pub will cost at least £5 to £10. Why not invest that in someone's life, to help someone instead? "You, me, everyone, can still live their normal lives if they did that."

He now hopes his people will be motivated by his efforts to help the city's homeless and has even had an offer from another kind-hearted local who said he would join him dressed as comic book icon Iron Man. He joked maybe eventually the whole of the Avengers character will join in in his heroics.

But, he added, it is encouraging people to change their behaviour towards homeless people that he most wants to achieve.

He said: "One man who retweeted me said he bought a sausage roll on his lunch break and when he was walking back to his office gave it to a homeless person. That is what I want to inspire."

You can follow Birmingham Spider-Man on Twitter at @BrumSpiderman.