16 people have been removed from a disused pub in Lowestoft, after being found living in illegal and unsafe conditions.
On 10 October, an illegal squat was removed from the former Marquis of Lorne public house, on Carlton Road in Lowestoft.
The action was taken by East Suffolk Council’s Communities Team, working in partnership with Lowestoft Rising, Suffolk Police, Hayden Chemists and local community organisations.
Initially 7 people were found living in the squat, which was reported to the Council in September, however further investigations found a total of 16 people living illegally at the premises, along with one dog. One of those present was a missing young person.
As well as bedding, tents and other equipment, evidence of drug use was found at the property. The individuals had also accessed the building’s electrical supply.
A court order was issued by the property owners, Hayden Chemists, ordering the occupants to give up possession of the property with immediate effect. When they refused to leave, Hayden Chemists then secured a High Court writ to be served on the property. By this time, only 4 individuals remained in the property and they were evicted by bailiffs and the building made secure.
Cllr Richard Kerry, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Housing said:
“Some of those occupying the squat were vulnerable individuals and all of them were living in unsafe and illegal conditions. We have connected them with relevant local services with the aim of securing long-term accommodation and any other support necessary.
Squats pose safety risks to those living within them, as well as to the local community by encouraging anti-social behaviour. The property owners have been left with the costs of securing the building and repairing any damage caused, as well as paying for the electricity which was illegally used. Our officers, and those of our partners, have given significant time to this case which is ultimately costly to the taxpayer.
There is a wide support network available in this area to provide people facing homelessness with the support they need. Anyone finding themselves homeless, or at risk of homelessness, is advised to contact the Council’s Housing Team immediately.”