March 15 2014 Latest news:
Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Just six people in Havering have been arrested and charged under controversial anti-squatting legislation in the 13 months since it was passed, the Recorder can reveal.
The information came to light following a Freedom of Information request to the Met – but police chiefs declined to reveal how many of those charged had been successfully prosecuted, or where they had been allegedly squatting.
Two of the six cases came just days after the law came into force on September 1, 2012, when Mate Gyori, 23, and Thomas Bateman, 20, both of no fixed address, were charged with entering the historic Lamb Pub in Romford Market Place and intending to live in the building.
They pleaded not guilty, but were convicted by trial at Romford Magistrates’ Court in November, and sentenced to 80 hours’ unpaid work each.
Homeless charity Crisis campaigned against the law before it was brought in.
“Crisis is concerned homeless people will end up in prison for simply trying to put a roof over their heads,” it said in a statement at the time.