Hove MP urges ministers to make squatting a crime

Posted On 26 Oct 2010 at 6:59 pm

Hove MP Mike Weatherley is pressing for squatting to be made a criminal offence.

He has written to two ministers with a series of questions as he tries bring about a reform of the law.

Mr Weatherley has written to Housig Minister Grant Shapps to ask what plans he has to toughen up the law.

He also asked Mr Shapps how many incidents of squatting were recorded each year in 2007-09.

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Mr Weatherley said: “It has become a serious local problem and not a month goes by without a new squatting incident being reported.

“Most sensible people are horrified by the fact that squatting is not in itself a crime.

“It goes without saying that empty properties should be brought back into use as soon as possible but that doesn’t justify the pain and damage regularly caused by squatters.

“I will be campaigning for squatting to be criminalised.”

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He said that, while squatting was not a crime, often crimes were committed during the act of squatting such as trespass, breaking and entering, criminal damage and theft.

He has written to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to ask how many prosecutions were brought relating to accompanying crimes over the past three years.

Mr Weatherley said that his interest in the problem had been triggered by a number of recent cases of squatting in the Brighton and Hove area.

One of the most recent involved an old farmhouse in Stanmer village.

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