Squatters throw party in death trap

SQUATTERS who broke into a derelict town home and had a massive party could have blown up the entire property - and put unsuspecting neighbours' lives at risk - after a faulty gas supply was found.

Dave Gooderham

SQUATTERS who broke into a derelict town home and had a massive party could have blown up the entire property - and put unsuspecting neighbours' lives at risk - after a faulty gas supply was found.

Council chiefs this morning revealed how about 40 youngsters had put themselves at risk of “potential death” by attending an illegal party in Melford Road, Sudbury.

The scene of the gathering had no fire protection, exposed electrical wiring and rotted floorboards. Squatters then turned on the property's gas supply - although the gas pipes had been removed - meaning potentially deadly toxins seeped into the cellar.


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Tom Ost, senior housing standards officer for Babergh District Council, said there would have been a real possibility of an explosion if a naked flame had been lit in the building.

“Our main concern was for the physical safety of the occupiers and any visitors to the house,” said Mr Ost. “Any parties held at the property would cause noise nuisance to neighbours and substantially increased the risk of injury, potentially fatal, to revellers.”

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“This incident should send a clear message to owners of properties of the inherent risks of leaving them empty for long periods of time, especially if members of the public can easily gain access.

“There are many options available to make use of such properties to provide affordable homes for the community and prevent them becoming problems for neighbours.”

The property was the scene of a “noisy party” attended by an estimated 40 youngsters on August 9 with another party planned for last Thursday.

Acting on a tip-off, Babergh environmental protection officers intervened, removing the squatters and securing the property from further intruders.

The council issued a prohibition order on August 13 which forced the squatters to leave immediately as the Melford Road house - owned by Crellson Grange Ltd of Brentford - provided no fire protection to the occupants. Once the order had been issued, the squatters promptly left the building.

However, the contractors charged with boarding up the building discovered that gas was still being supplied to the property.

Crellson Grange Ltd was not available for comment this morning.

Any owners with a property that has been empty for some time should contact Tom Ost for advice on 01473 825871.

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