Russell Brand has given his friends £1,500 to hand out to homeless people in Los Angeles over Christmas.

The 37-year-old comedian - who is currently in Melbourne, Australia, for the latest show of his 'I Am A Walrus' tour - withdrew the cash before heading Down Under to enable his friends to feed and clothe a group of homeless people in the US city while he is away.

A source told The Sun newspaper: ''Russell didn't want them to be left high and dry overnight.

''He usually spends about £1,500 a month just helping people out.

''He asked pals to make sure these guys are OK while he's away.

''So they have been taking them along for food and making sure they've got warm clothing and a few dollars in their pocket until he gets back.''

It is not the first time Russell has helped the homeless. In September, the 'Rock of Ages' actor took a group of homeless people for breakfast at the Newsroom Café in West Hollywood, and earlier that month he was spotted giving a topless street dweller some water and a T-shirt.

But last month Russell denied running over a homeless man's cart after he was accused of crashing his Range Rover into a trolley filled with a homeless man's possessions in Los Angeles in November.