Great Britain and Property Rights

Imagine going on vacation. When you get back, your house has been occupied by 15 homeless people, who have changed the locks and will not let you into your own home. You call the police to have the intruders removed, and are told that they can’t do anything, because squatting is a civil offense, not a criminal one.

Surely, such a think couldn’t possible happen in real life, at least not in a civilized country, right?

Well, it happened in Britain:

In the middle of completely refurbishing his five-bedroom house, Connan Gupta felt he deserved a week off.

It is a decision he is now regretting because 15 squatters took advantage of his short absence to occupy the £700,000 property.

The jobless Italians changed the locks and have taken up residence along with their three dogs and two cats.

They claim the fact they cannot afford to rent gives them the right to take over the Victorian property in Camberwell, South-East London.

Police are powerless to intervene because squatting is a civil rather than criminal offence.

[…]

He left the house on October 10 for his week off and returned on Monday to find he couldn’t open the door. A squatter’s rights notice was posted in a window.

‘This is just ridiculous,’ he said. ‘Everything’s in there. All my worldly possessions, clothes, valuables, and medication I need for a skin condition. It is hellish. I always triple-lock the house and when I went away I made sure everything was locked.

‘It is really scary that you can go on holiday and come back and your house has been taken. I’m profoundly shocked that this can happen.

‘I tried to open the door and found the locks had been changed. Then I saw the note, and banged on the door saying I was the owner and a voice inside said “Just go away”.

[…]

‘When the owner came on Monday in the morning we told him we were squatting, and he was really aggressive.

‘We’ll go if the court tells us to but until then we’re staying. If he wants his things he’ll have to wait. If I find a job then I’ll start paying rent like a normal person.’

They have turned the front room into a sixth bedroom and are using Mr Gupta’s wardrobes to store their clothes. They are also making use of his three leather sofas, sauna, hundreds of DVDs and television.

An eviction hearing is expected to be held in the next two weeks.

So remember, in a socialist paradise, if someone else can claim to be more “disadvantaged” than you, they can take what they want from you, and you have to sit and endure it while the bureaucracy churns. Because “squatters’ rights” are more important than property rights.

Hat tip to Van Helsing at Right Wing News and Moonbattery.

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