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Scores prosecuted for squatting

Almost 70 suspected squatters have been brought before the courts in the year since it became a crime, figures show.

Powers which came into effect on September 1 last year allow local authorities to call in the police to arrest squatters, rather than pursuing lengthy civil eviction proceedings through the courts.

The data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by HuffPost UK, was provided by the Crown Prosecution Service and covered those charged up to July 2013.

According to the website, 69 people were charged, and many of those found guilty were handed fines, typically of around £100, while others were given conditional discharges, and one person received a jail term of 90 days.

Separate figures, obtained from police forces around the country by the website, revealed that 90 arrests had been made outside London since the Act came into force, but fewer than half of those had resulted in charges.

Many forces, including Cheshire, Hertfordshire and Hampshire, had not made a single arrest in the first year, while Kent police, with 27 arrests, had been the most active outside the capital, the website said.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said there had been 94 offences between September 1 2012 and May 19 2013.


From Belfast Telegraph