VID: Neighbours of Alex Haigh discuss sentencing

Tony Gosling tony at
Fri Sep 28 23:31:24 BST 2012

Neighbours of Alex Haigh discuss his sentencing, 
2 of them ex-squatters

VIDEO: London squatter first to be jailed under new law

27 September 2012 Last updated at 21:41
A 21-year-old man squatting in a London property 
has become the first person to be jailed under a new law.
Alex Haigh, who arrived from Plymouth two months 
ago, was arrested by police at a flat in Pimlico on 2 September.
Haigh pleaded guilty to squatting in a 
residential property and was jailed for 12 weeks 
by Westminster Magistrates' Court.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the new law is 
enabling "quick and decisive action to protect homeowners".
Squatting was previously treated as a civil 
matter. The maximum penalty is now six months in jail, a £5,000 fine, or both.

'Quick action'
Haigh and two other people, Anthony Ismond and 
Michelle Blake had been squatting at the housing 
association property in Cumberland Street.
They were charged and later pleaded guilty to squatting.
Alex Haigh had come to London two months ago looking for work
Ismond was fined £100 for squatting and recalled 
to prison on breach of licence while Blake will be sentenced at a later date.
But some neighbours where the three were 
squatting told BBC London of their surprise at Haigh's sentence.
Neighbour Nadia Lee said: "They were very quiet - 
I think just living in a room wanting a roof over their head.
"I don't think they were doing any real harm. 
Obviously they (the owners) had a right to get 
them out but not put them in prison."
An MoJ spokesperson said: "For too long squatters 
have been playing the justice system and have 
caused homeowners untold misery in eviction, repair and clean-up costs.
"It is extremely encouraging that the new 
criminal offence of squatting in a residential 
building, which came into effect at the beginning 
of this month, is enabling the police and other 
agencies to take quick and decisive action to 
protect homeowners against squatting."
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