Pole squats Cheltenham cinema

Tony Gosling tony at tlio.org.uk
Sat Oct 1 14:05:50 BST 2005

Cinema's secret squatter got the big picture, three times a night
By Alan Hamilton - The Times - September 29, 2005

CINEMA managers knew that something bigger than a mouse had made its home
behind the screen when they discovered a mattress, bicycle, cycle helmet, a
pair of slippers and a wad of Polish money. 

It may have been a cut above sleeping in a doorway, but only just. The
mysterious squatter in his comfortable, secret burrow will have had to
endure three showings of Pride & Prejudice every day, plus The Dukes of
Hazzard and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory — and all of them back to

Police are trying to identify the intruder who made his home by screen
seven at the Odeon multiplex in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. But since
setting off a security alarm he has fled his lair, which staff found when
the alarm sounded at three in the morning. 

Steve Margetts, the manager, said yesterday: “It looked like he was living
a life of curious luxury. He had made a nice little home for himself. We
have no idea how long he had been there, but it looked like at least four

The uninvited cinemagoer had broken in at a boarded-up window at the side,
carefully replacing the board each time he came and went. But he was an
honest intruder who made no attempt to steal any popcorn. 

“He appears to have taken nothing from the cinema, even though he had
access to all our stock. None of the wrappers left behind were from
products that we sell. Judging by what he left, he lived on yogurt,
strawberries and orange juice. 

“The thought of someone here watching us and waiting for us to leave each
night is quite creepy. But it also must have been a bit scary for him; a
pitch-black cinema at night is not the most comforting place to be,” Mr
Margetts said. 

“There were miscellaneous papers with various names on them among his
belongings. We are investigating them and trying to identify the person
concerned,” the police said. 

As yet no evidence suggests that the pile of Polish money points to an East
European plumber cutting his overheads.

By Geoffrey Lakeman
Daily Mirror 29 September 2005

A HOMELESS man lived secretly behind a cinema screen in a multiplex for a
Stunned staff discovered their guest - believed to be a Polish immigrant -
when he set the alarms off one night and fled.

They found the man's mattress, bike, cycle helmet, slippers and a pile of
Polish money hidden behind Screen Seven. The unknown Pole shunned the
popcorn and pick-a-mix in favour of yoghurts, juice and strawberries from a
nearby Marks and Spencer.

Odeon manager Steve Margetts said: "He was living a life of curious luxury.
He had made a nice little home for himself." The man got in through a
boarded up window in the Cheltenham cinema. Police are trying to establish
his identity.

Some films he might have enjoyed: Casablanket, Cadge 22, The Beg Sleep, The
Dirty Dossin', Rough Actually, Honey I Stunk the Kids, Flea Men and a Baby,
Sleepless in Cheltenham, Gone with the Binned, Cinema Paradosso, How the
Meths was Won.

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