Torygraph label homeless as "serial squatters"
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Mon Oct 19 22:24:30 BST 2009
"What is wrong with these people? Why won't they just sleep on the streets like normal people do? They must be mentally ill" ;-)
Barclay Twins' Torygraph label homeless as "serial squatters"
Serial Belgravia squatters vow more action after taking over £15m property
A gang of serial squatters have vowed to continue their campaign of occupying dozens of luxury buildings in central London after they moved into a £15 million property on one of the city's most exclusive squares.
Just weeks after occupying a £12million house in the same square near the home of former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher, the group now occupy a seven-storey Georgian house a short distance from the former wife of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
After being evicted from their former home, on Chester Square, Belgravia, in central London house last Thursday, the group of six moved into the neighbouring 19 room property, which is under renovation, just a few doors away.
The squatters vowed to occupy dozens more, in a bid to force wealthy owners to "squat proof" their wealthy properties.
The last known person to live there was London-based French property developer Henri Charbit, who was ranked 438 on the Sunday Times' rich list with an estimated fortune of £120, which had fallen from £175 last year.
Mr Charbit could not be reached for comment.
The squatters, who have also occupied the 80-room former Sudanese Embassy in Knightsbridge and a £4.5million home near Harrods, say they legally gained entry to the property through an unsecured window.
A notice on the door reads: "We live in this property. It is our home and we intend to stay here.''
It remains unclear how long the house has stayed empty. Neighbours say it has been empty for some months.
The property, close to the home of Irina Abramovich, is one of at least four empty buildings that have been immediately earmarked for squatting.
The squatters say neighbours are supportive of their actions after the property remained empty for months.
They decorated the first-floor balcony with football strips belonging to Chelsea's European rivals including Liverpool and Barcelona to "send a message to Mr Abramovich".
Mrs Abromovich, who received the house as part of a £155 million divorce settlement, arrived at her home at the weekend accompanied by a large security presence and is said to have looked horrified to see the squatters' actions.
A spokesman for Mr Abramovich declined to comment
The fashionable garden square has been described as Britain's most expensive street.
A house sold recently for more than £20 million.
The group last month became near-neighbours of former the Baroness Thatcher where they invited her to tea.
One of the squatters, Jake Tag, 29, a former Green Jackets soldier from Durban, South Africa, who now works as a building labourer, has been in the United Kingdom for 10 years.
He served in the Army for six and a half years and did tours of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving the forces three years ago.
Since then he has been travelling around the country working on building sites and often living in squats and now works nightshift at the 2012 London Olympics site.
"It is cheap to live in, and this is one of the biggest houses I have lived in," he said.
"The neighbours have been really nice and quite good about it. They brought us presents and a television."
A spokesman for the squatters, documentary maker Mark Guard said it was part of a campaign to force wealthy owners to "squat proof" their homes.
He said the group only squats legally in properties that had been empty for weeks.
"We are going to target the properties if these owners don't make sure they are squat proof," he said.
"There are some 312 properties that are lying empty in Belgravia. We are sending a message out to say, if you don't look after your home
these guys will take it over."
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