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Homeless set up shanty-style camp in Romford

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 February 2015

Asylum seeker camping in the woods, behind Risebridge Golf Course.

Asylum seeker camping in the woods, behind Risebridge Golf Course.

Archant

You would be forgiven for not noticing the small shanty-style campsite that has popped up in Romford.

Asylum seeker camping in the woods, behind Risebridge Golf Course.Asylum seeker camping in the woods, behind Risebridge Golf Course.

As you walk along the woodland footpath south of Lower Bedfords Road you will eventually come across a secluded shelter made from tin, tarpaulin, trees and tents.

The small campsite is made more homely with a fire, a washing line and a smaller tent to the side of the shack which towers at least 10ft tall and could easily accommodate four or five grown men.

Andrew Price, the director of nearby Risebridge Golf Course, said: “There’s a woman who lives there and she comes on to the golf course to get water from the bunkers for her cups of tea and coffee.

“I think a few people live there and they set up three or four months ago.”

The site can be seen clearly from a tower owned by Noak Hill Archery Club, in Keats Avenue, Harold Hill, which is adjacent to the field where the shack has been set up.

Ken Haynes, who works at the archery club, said: “They haven’t given us any trouble at all – they keep themselves to themselves.

“Since they have been there we haven’t had any body climbing over the fences here and nicking our animals like we had before.”

“I believe some of them work on a building site at the top of Straight Road (in Harold Hill).”

The campsite has been set up on a private land registered to someone in Singapore so neither the police, nor the council, are in any position to move them.

Both authorities, and charities such as Hope4Havering and the Salvation Army, have offered their support to the people living at the site, who are believed not to speak English, but their help was declined.

Emma Simmons, at Hope4Havering, said: “They have their own little community and look out for each other.

“They know the door is always open and they can come to us if they want to.”

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