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Police shut down Stratford house after squatters move in

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 July 2012

Police and council officers boarded up the house in Stratford after squatters moved in. Pic by Luke Jacobs

Police and council officers boarded up the house in Stratford after squatters moved in. Pic by Luke Jacobs

Archant

Squatters who took over an empty Stratford home made residents’ lives a misery, neighbours said.

The terraced house in White Road remained vacant for just a few months after its elderly owner was taken into care at the end of 2007.

And a stream of unwanted visitors have been blamed for a rise in antisocial behaviour. One occupant was seen being led from the property in handcuffs.

On July 7 metal sheets finally went up on the front windows and doors after police attended.

One man, who lives in the adjacent house, said his pleas to Newham Council to lock it up once the owner, named as Bernard Baker, left fell on deaf ears.

But he said the first set of squatters - a French couple with a new-born baby - settled in well and caused no problems.

The neighbour said: “The first (French) couple who moved in left the lights on, they had free electricity for a year

“There were smells coming from it and we were thinking, if they’re lighting candles what if they’re leaving them on?”

But the neighbour said the problems started after the couple left after being served with an eviction notice in July last year.

His wife returned one night that month to the house they share with their four-year-old son to find stepladders propped up against the house.

He added: “We are just hoping that it will stay secured. We just want the council to either repossess it or for it to be rented it out.

Another neighbour, who wished to stay anonymous, said: “There were a group of males inside the house and on Monday (July 3) they were getting quite noisy so we called the police.

“They came back the next day and the meantime we were calling the council again and again. They did absolutely nothing.”

A Newham Council spokesman said: “The council has acted promptly and robustly to deal with this property, which has been been boarded up and secured. We will continue to monitor it closely.

“Squatting is unacceptable and, working closely with the police, we are proactive in tackling it.”


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