Squatters hijack Barking pensioner's home

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Sep 23 18:22:33 BST 2010

Squatters hijack Barking pensioner's home

23 September 2010 - Barking and Dagenham Post

A PENSIONER has been made homeless after a family 
moved into his council home while he was out and changed the locks.

Council tenant George Pope, 72, left his house in 
Keir Hardie Way, Barking, to take his two dogs 
for a walk in Parsloes Park on Thursday (September 16).

But Mr Pope, who suffers poor health and needs a 
stick to walk, started feeling ill and decided to 
stay at his friend's house until he was well 
enough to make the journey back home.

When he returned home on the Saturday morning his locks had been changed.

He said: "I was puzzled by it."

He said he saw a man walk up the path to his house and approach him.

Mr Pope said: "I said 'this is my place.' He said 
'This is our property and we intend to stay here unless you go to court.'

"It made me feel ill. I have been shaken ever since. I get panic attacks."

He called the police and the council who both 
confirmed they could not evict the new occupants 
because they were themselves victims of a scam.

Police explained they had paid £3,000 to rent the 
property for six months to an estate agent.

The former Ford worker said: "Police told me it 
looked like a civil matter. But they're using my 
home, my gas, my electricity - it's disgraceful."

When he returned on Monday morning, Mr Pope's 
belongings had been thrown out but neighbours 
helped him recover the documents, photographs and 
clothes before the binmen could collect them.

He now suspects that there may be a ring of 
illegal estate agents occupying buildings and letting them for money.

He said: "I had been out for two and a half days. 
Someone must have been watching me.

"My neighbours are frightened to go anywhere.

"One of them was going to go on a holiday and they are worried about it."

A police spokeswoman said: "Police are 
investigating a civil dispute where there may 
have been fraudulent sub-letting of the premises. 
Anyone with information concerning the person who 
has fraudulently advertised this property for 
rent and subsequently changed the locks should 
call Detective Constable Nainesh Desai of Barking 
and Dagenham Police on 020 8217 5535 or call 
Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

A council spokesperson said: "We are working with 
police who are investigating the events that led 
to Mr Pope's home being sublet illegally. The 
council is concerned about Mr Pope's condition 
and are looking to get him into temporary 
accommodation. We are also gathering his possessions for safe storage.
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

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