Squatters leave council with £100k bill

SUFFOLK County Council is facing a bill of up to £100,000 after squatters and vandals struck at a former social services building.

John Howard

SUFFOLK County Council is facing a bill of up to £100,000 after squatters and vandals struck at a former social services building.

A group of about six squatters moved into the county council-owned building in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket, last month.

The authority sought a court order to remove them and, after they left, vandals broke in and caused havoc, including ripping out light fittings.


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After legal costs, repairs and making the building safe council officials estimate that the final bill will not be far short of £100,000.

Stowmarket mayor Anne Whybrow said: “It's appalling, this is gross vandalism.

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“These are all people's sons and daughters and probably as individuals they would not do this, but as a group they turn into vandals.

“It endorses how Suffolk County Council must be more vigilant with their buildings when they are unoccupied.”

A spokesman for the authority said: “We greatly regret the damage caused to this building which we own.

“The actions of squatters has already cost the council and therefore local people many thousands of pounds and wasted a lot of time and effort.

“We profoundly apologise to neighbours and any others affected by noise and other disturbance, and we have taken every precaution to make the building secure.

“We are looking forward to the building being sold and becoming a successful residential development on the site in the future.”

Police said that the matter could have worried residents and urged landlords to keep buildings as secure as possible, with alarms working if they are installed, good lighting and possibly CCTV.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said the property, which has had windows smashed, had now been boarded and bricked up.

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