Flashback: Clampdown on lodgers, a cold-blooded hit and run driver and refugees found in back of a lorry


- Credit: Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 60, 40 and 20 years ago


- Credit: Romford Library


Romford Council was clamping down on council house tenants who took in unauthorised lodgers.

In the future, applications for sub-letting would be refused if the tenant had already taken in a lodger behind the authority’s back.

This was the recommendation of the housing management committee who expressed concern at the apparent increase in illegal sub-letting.


- Credit: Romford Library

Tenants were permitted to take in lodgers if they first applied to the council.

A charge of 10s. for one person and 15s. for a couple would be made.

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But far too many tenants had been taking in lodgers and keeping quiet about it so the housing committee, with a recommendation to Romford Council, registered its disapproval.


A “cold-blooded” hit-and-run driver sped off from a crash leaving one of his victims in flames and the other bleeding in the road.

Surgeons had to amputate a 22-year-old’s right foot and only a long battle by doctors saved his wife’s right leg.

Police were calling the driver “cold-blooded and merciless” and appealed for help in tracing him.

Officers said the car – a black Lotus Elan – would have been speeding along Colchester Road, Harold Wood, when it ploughed into a motorbike.

The rider’s injuries could have been much worse if it hadn’t been for the swift action of friends who were following the car.

His wife, who had been on the pillion, was lying nearby with her leg badly injured following the incident.


A storm of protest erupted after refugees, who were found in a lorry at a Romford warehouse, were allowed to walk free.

Police were called to Thorn Lighting’s warehouse, at King George Close, where 10 men were discovered in the back of a lorry delivering goods from France.

Officers arrested four Bangladeshis but to the amazement of the watching workers, six others, who claimed to be refugees from war-torn Kosovo, were pointed towards Romford train station and allowed to walk off.

Councillor Alby Tebbutt said: “It is absolutely diabolical.

“I feel the police got it wrong.

“They have no business directing them off into the wilderness.

“People arriving over here could be the top terrorists in the world.

“They ought to have taken them to the local police station and checked them out properly and then they should have been transported to the home office.

“It’s only common sense.”