Four men found living under A13 flyover in Canning Town

PUBLISHED: 15:27 17 May 2016 | UPDATED: 15:27 17 May 2016

They were the camped under the road      Picture: David Johnson

They were the camped under the road Picture: David Johnson


Four men have been found living underneath one of the borough’s busiest roads.

The men were found living under the A13 flyover in Canning Town       Picture: David JohnsonThe men were found living under the A13 flyover in Canning Town Picture: David Johnson

The rough sleepers were camping “within the steel structure” of the A13 flyover in Canning Town on “electrical cables which run along a shelf” on Wednesday last week, a spokeswoman for Newham Council said.

Two of the men were Lithuanian nationals who were not working legally in the country, meaning they have no right to public funds.

They were offered the chance to return to their home country but refused. Newham Council said around half of all people found on the streets are EU nationals.

The other two were British nationals, one of whom was referred to the Community Mental Health Team while the other is known to drug and alcohol services in the borough.

Both were referred to homelessness charity Thames Reach for “assessment”, the council spokeswoman added.

They were found by workers from the award-winning Operation Alabama, which is a joint initiative led by Newham Council and including Thames Reach, drug services, the Home Office and council-funded Metropolitan Police officers.

Operations take place at least twice a month and aim to find people sleeping on the streets to connect them with support services and hostels.

Since January 2014, more than 450 people have been dealt with through Operation Alabama, with between 15 and 30 being assessed with every operation.

People are frequently found sleeping under roads, in tunnels and in woods near motorways.

Councillor Ian Corbett, mayoral advisor for environment, said: “Like every London borough we have a number of people who come to the area without having accommodation arrangements.

“Operation Alabama helps rough sleepers by putting them in contact with support services, as well as hostels, and provides a reassurance to our residents that we are tackling associated anti-social behaviour.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Newham Recorder