Disused social club raided after illegal immigrant claims

The old Rainham Social Club. Picture: Google Maps

The old Rainham Social Club. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A disused social club was raided by police after continuous reports from neighbours of it being used to house illegal immigrants.

Residents in Upminster Road South, Rainham had been telling police for months they believed people were living in the old club house building, and had seen people coming in and out of the front door at various times of the day.

Acting on the information, officers raided the property two weeks ago, but found nothing to back up the claims.

Sgt Colin Flynn, of Rainham and Wennington Safer Neighbourhood Team told the Recorder: “The club was raided. I have spoke at length to the proprietor, a very nice chap, and confirmed that this building, as suspected is a store house for his stall holding business.

“The building was searched and no people, signs or remnants were found that confirmed the local rumours that this is used by illegal immigrants.”

Shiraz Anwar, the owner of the building, had planning permission rejected last year to turn the social club into a bed and breakfast.

It has since been rented out to a company using it as storage.

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Speaking to the Recorder, Mr Anwar refuted the “conspiracy theories” about occupants and said the constant rumours and “bullying” are making him want to leave.

“I want to turn it into a social club now,” he said. “I’m trying to create something, create jobs.

“I pay my rents on it and I’ve even spoke to the MP Jon Cruddas who has backed me,” he said. “But I’m being targeted and I might just sell it and get out.”

Cllr Jeff Tucker, who lives near to the social club, said he had no concerns about the property.

But Elaine Hulcup who lives next door and was one of the residents to oppose the B&B development, said: “We hear kids out there, people going backwards and forwards in the alley at the back.

“We believe it’s people sleeping in there. The front is being used for storage, but the back is locked.

“We are looking to sell our house because of it – we have lived here since 1996.”