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Gangs of squatters in two Ilford homes says neighbour

PUBLISHED: 16:00 04 December 2011 | UPDATED: 12:02 05 December 2011

An woman has launched a petition urging the public and police to help keep squatters out of the area.

Susan Dixon, who lives in Coventry Road, Ilford, with her fiance Andy Hill and their young daughter, said the lives of her family and other residents have been turned around after two homes in their road were allegedly taken over by large groups of squatters.

She told the Recorder up to 50 people are sleeping in each home – one of which is up for sale – and youngsters are causing trouble on the streets as late as 2am.

In a bid to make the government listen, Ms Dixon has launched a petition urging the government to change the law and recognise squatting as an illegal offence, and also calling on Redbridge Council to adopt recommendations which she believes will help the community now..

She said: “Our neighbour’s home has been taken over. We, as a community, don’t feel safe any more.
“There appears to be open drug dealing, money exchanging hands and when I see elderly and vulnerable neighbours too scared to leave their homes, it’s about time something was done.”
Valentines ward Cllr Aziz Choudhry is backing the petition which is expected to be presented at a council meeting in January.

The law states that squatters cannot be arrested as it is a civil offence, and homeowners must go through costly court procedures to obtain eviction notices.

Squatters have been, or currently are, in eight areas in borough of Redbridge, she claims.

But Ms Dixon said she hopes ministers will consider the law more carefully after she wrote a letter to prime minister David Cameron who has forwarded her concerns on to justice minister Ken Clarke.


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