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Ilford neighbours gain anti-squatters victory by reclaiming home

PUBLISHED: 12:43 29 December 2011 | UPDATED: 12:54 29 December 2011

Neighbours in Coventry Road, Ilford, decided to secure an empty building on Boxing Day to keep squatters out

Neighbours in Coventry Road, Ilford, decided to secure an empty building on Boxing Day to keep squatters out

Archant

A group of nine Ilford neighbours gained a victory over squatters on Boxing Day as part of an ongoing campaign to reclaim their street.

The proactive residents took advantage of squatters leaving a property in Coventry Road to secure the house by placing chains and padlocks on front and back doors.

They also put up a notice saying the property had been repossessed by the “residents of Coventry Road”.

One of the group, Susan Dixon, is responsible for a petition, now signed by over 1,500 people in Redbridge, calling on the government to criminalise squatting.

Alex Bailey, 46, who has lived in Coventry Road for 21 years, said groups of up to 50 people had been staying in the home since last October.

He said: “I had a funny feeling they’d disappeared.

“The level of vehicles had dropped.

“I thought let’s go and see if the front door is open and I thought we could get it sealed up.

“We believe we saw drug deals going on.

“The poor chap next door who lives on his own felt threatened.

“It all became a bit of a nightmare.”

The property had been empty since last September and is believed to have been the subject of a bank repossession.

Mr Bailey has since spoken to someone who claims to own the property and it has been professionally boarded up.

He said: “They [the squatters] didn’t get sent away, they disappeared, possibly because of all the pressure by the community and the petition.

“Possibly they think this is the wrong road to do it in.”

He said the house was in a “disgusting” condition with food rubbish left and the radiators had been removed.

Another property used by squatters in Coventry Road has also been boarded up.

Campaigners plan to present their petition to Redbridge council on January 19.


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